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.
Fresh Expressions FL welcomes new team addition
Fresh Expressions Florida is excited to announce the newest addition to the Conference team: Jessica Taylor.
31 Ways to Honor Your Pastor for Clergy Appreciation Month
Creative ideas to show your appreciation with gifts your pastor can actually use!
Workshop can help churches enhance online worship experience
The pandemic gave many challenges to congregations throughout the Florida Conference, but it also presented an opportunity. As churches throughout the state curtailed in-person worship and offered ...
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.
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.
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.
Online services become “a church within a church”
Streaming options help share the message of Christ beyond the Sanctuary walls.
Conference starts ministry in women's prison
The United Methodist Church committed to bringing the gospel of Jesus to inmates at Lowell Correctional Institution.
Conference is planting a church in women’s prison
Bishop Ken Carter began discussions three years ago about starting a United Methodist church inside the Lowell Correctional Institute in Reddick, about 15 miles north of Ocala. It houses about 3,000 women, the largest female prison population in the United States.
Lay ministers are key to congregational care
Certified Lay Ministers serve to enhance the quality of ministry, much like the class leader did in early Methodism, through service in the local church.
The path to increased pastoral agency
Pastors serving in congregations have much more freedom in their daily work routines than teachers in classrooms or therapists in counseling centers. Pastors command more sustained attention, through ...
No matter size or location, congregations need care
Congregational Care Ministries (CCM) is a program aimed to empower lay people to work alongside their ministers. They perform services such as hospital visits, leading grief and divorce groups and even administering communion to home-bound people.
Messy Church focuses on intergenerational worship
The Messy movement is catching on throughout the United States. It’s not like church as most people understand it, but the goal is the same—glorify God through worship and fellowship.
Hospitality, trust and reweaving the fabric of community
At a time when the social fabric is frayed, the church has an important role to play in reweaving community, drawing on the practices of hospitality and trust, says theologian and professor emeritus of Christian ethics Christine D. Pohl.
Take a 'Deep Dive' in 2019 to explore best practices
The Florida Conference Office of Congregational Vitality is set to expand its new Deep Dive initiative in early 2019 with the aim of rolling out workshops in the north, south and mid-conference regions.
'Sky is the limit’ for school-church partnerships
More than 100 people representing 34 churches participated in school-church training on Sept. 29 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando.
Church is part of Cedar Key's safety net
By focusing on providing outreach and missions to the changed fortunes of the city, Cedar Key UMC is considered by some as “the church of the community.”
New churches intentional about serving their demographics
Launching new churches takes a lot of time, work, organization and more than a little innovation. But for Dan Jackson, director of the Vital Church Initiative for the Florida Conference, it’s about going where people are to share the love of Christ.
November marks Native American History Month
The Committee on Native American Ministries organized the first Native American Gathering in 2006 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park near Leesburg. The April 2019 event is expected to draw more than 70 attendees.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month
Editor's note: Pastor Appreciation Day is October 14. Some of you may know that October is designated Pastor Appreciation Month in some denominations and congregations. This is not a major national ...
Creation Care is economic, social justice issue
On a national level, UMW is speaking out on issues like greenhouse gas emissions, which are warming the planet and is bringing attention to the fact that environmental issues are a social justice issue, as well, because it has a greater impact on lower-income and indigenous people.
Churches share ideas for Creation Care ministries
Churches can save a lot of money and do something environmentally responsible by switching from plastic plates, utensils, bottled water and shopping bags, as well as paper products, especially for routine events like church dinners.
‘God’s Renewed Creation’ even more relevant today
Congregations are expressing their commitment to environmental issues through Creation Care, a ministry of the Florida Conference to educate and inspire Methodists to action on behalf of the planet.
New Covenant growth spurs planting of new campus
New Covenant United Methodist Church’s Lake Deaton campus is located on a 10-acre site in the fast-growing Wildwood area of The Villages. Initial development will include a 26,600-square foot multipurpose building.
The Portico celebrates one year of serving the community
The re-purposed former First UMC Tampa campus is bustling with activity as an event venue that happens to have a church service on Sunday nights.
Innovative approaches boosting church vitality
A rich mixture of good news is sweeping across the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, from a land sale that will bring in ministry-boosting resources, to new churches and mergers designed to strengthen outreach and attendance.
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.
Appointment-making in a time of mission: 2022
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Missio Ecclesia studies missional Church, innovation Feb. 22-23
Janet Earls, director of Congregational Vitality for the Florida Conference, said her idea of church changed during a trip to England with Bishop Carter and others three years ago. The place where Fresh Expressions took root provides inspiration to an upcoming Missio Ecclesia conference Feb. 22-23 at FUMC Lakeland. Registration is now open.
Black History Month: African-Americans contributing to the Church
African-Americans are a vital part of the tapestry of The United Methodist Church. They have played important roles in the development of the denomination in the United States since 1758. The denomination provides resources, stories, multi-media features and historical perspective to celebrate Black History Month in February.
Digital church 'meets them where they are'
Sanctuaries without walls take on new meaning when churches turn to digital technology. From live internet chats during services to liturgies performed online a world away, Florida Conference churches are finding new ways to connect worshippers.
Discovering spiritual gifts, recruiting young clergy
The Florida Conference has been challenged to double the number of young clergy under age 35. But recruiting millennials is unlike previous generations. In the words of one pastor, "We need freedom to create the ministry we're feeling called to because it doesn't exist yet."
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.
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.
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.
Despite the times, Haitian worship is joyous
The flow of Haitian refugees into the U.S. was compounded in 2010 when the country was devastated by a major earthquake that left 1.5 million people homeless. In 2017, Southeast District Superintendent Rev. Cynthia Weems describes Haitian Churches in the Florida Conference as joyful and challenging.
Four-year strategic plan bringing new churches
In the midst of a four-year strategic plan to develop new churches, Rev. Dan Jackson, director of New Church Development for the Florida Conference, is preparing for a new phase in the initiative. In 2018, at least nine churches are targeted for new starts.
"From the Steeple to the Street"
The North Central district is holding a pioneering event encouraging congregations to step outside their sanctuaries for one day. Led by district superintendent Rev. June Edwards, thousands are being asked to go out in their communities April 8 to pray, observe and listen.
Trend: Churches are creating gallery spaces for art
With a few inexpensive moves to turn bare walls into venues, churches are using visual displays for a range of purposes. Some complement lessons taught in worship. Others bridge cultural divides with the secular world.
Pulpit exchanges preach justice and love
Stories of the 1960's, dynamic praise singing and marches through city streets marked the inaugural pulpit exchange of the Florida Conference.
Series begins on 'Building the Beloved Community'
With this occasional series on churches’ hard work of reconciliation and redemption, the conference will feature stories about interfaith community dialogues and activities, ecumenical initiatives to build bridges among us, “Reclaim the Common Good” conversations, church efforts to address immigration issues, churches growing the beloved community dialogue beyond the walls of the church, etc.
The state of intergenerational ministries
It's perhaps an understated fact. The numerical measurements of congregational vitality in churches across America are not looking up. In the first of a two-part series, Melissa Cooper, program coordinator of the Life Enrichment Center, focuses on the state of intergenerational ministries today.
Folklore and family form country churches
Log cabins, handmade quilts and steak supper pick and grins are all part of the fabric of country churches. Follow the back roads to a story about churches located in rural areas of Florida.
Children's ministry roundtables create connections
Children's ministry roundtable meetings are described as essential to knowing the pulse of what is happening in local churches. With meetings held in November and again in February, children's ministers are looking for ways to create more sustainable ministries.
Commission on a Way Forward holds organizational meeting in Atlanta
Conversations ranged from reflection on challenges, hopes and concerns to the current state of what’s happening in the church to the meaning of unity to practical questions about how the Commission will go about its work and the processes and strategies that will be used to structure that work and meet the target dates.
Young adult summit mirrors Silicon Valley
A focus on involving young adults in the church is no surprise, but bringing millennials into an organization's decision-making process offers innovation and shades of Silicon Valley.