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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 or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

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Commentary: The Christmas Star can bring light into our darkness

Commentary Worship December 15, 2020

The Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn combines to create the appearance of a giant, brilliant star. Many theorize its what guided the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. The phenomenon happens just once every 800 years. In this time of darkness and turmoil, we could use this light. It will occur on Dec. 21 as the winter solstice occurs, the longest night of the year.

Fifteen ways to pray for your pastor

Commentary September 30, 2019

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. One of the best ways we can support our pastors and show them our appreciation is to regularly pray for them. But it can be difficult to know exactly what we should pray for. To help get started, the denomination assembled fifteen areas of pastors’ lives and ministries where they would value your prayers.

5 other Bible verses for Jeff Sessions to consider

Commentary Social Justice June 21, 2018

"The problem is not with a politician quoting scripture. Promoting biblical literacy in the public square can be a good thing. The biggest problem is not even with misinterpreting scripture. We are all susceptible to it. The problem is in its misuse, to promote an agenda that is not only antithetical to the Gospel, but is destructive to the highest and best human institution that God created: the family."

Bishop Carter's Christmas message

Commentary December 14, 2017

Bishop Carter shares a Christmas message that includes a prayer from the traditional service of lessons and carols and thanks for those who have made gifts to the Hurricane Irma fund and UMCOR.

Is the Old Testament dying?

Commentary May 22, 2017

“The Old Testament has often had a more insecure place with the Christian tradition,” said Stephen Chapman, professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School. “Even when the Old Testament is known, what’s known is a simplified version.”

Bishop Carter: The hope of Easter

Commentary April 12, 2017

The hope of Easter sunrise is found at the tomb amid the darkness and disbelief. The shocking turn of events leads the disciples out of their grief and despair, and Paul claims this reality not only as apostolic testimony but also as existential promise: "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will appear with him in glory."

The ways we die

Commentary April 07, 2017

The last words Jesus speaks in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 33:34 are known as "the cry of dereliction," defined as "the state of being abandoned or deserted." There's no getting around it. Jesus spoke the way we feel but are often afraid to express when he shouted at a silent sky, "My God, why?"

The challenge of leading together

Commentary March 08, 2017

Melissa Cooper, program coordinator of the Life Enrichment Center, offers the second in a two-part essay series on the state of intergenerational ministries. She takes a critical look at the challenges of leading together in the 21st century.

Taking inspiration from legacies in London monastery

Commentary March 07, 2017

For Miranda Harrison-Quillin, staying at Lambeth Palace has been a life experience. In her third post about living in a monastic community in London, Miranda examines the legacies of John and Charles Wesley and the rules that guide her as a member of St. Anselm.

Observing Advent in London's Lambeth Palace

Commentary December 09, 2016

Specially invited to work and pray in a London monastic community for 10 months, Miranda Harrison-Quillin talks of the challenges of following the liturgical rhythms of the church year in a society, where Christmas trees and sugar plum cookies make an early arrival.

Life lessons learned in Cuba

Commentary December 02, 2016

Rev. Dr. Rini Hernandez, district superintendent of the Southwest District, reflects on the life lessons he learned living in Cuba during the era of Fidel Castro.

Advent, and the longing for home

Commentary November 18, 2016

Serving as chaplain at a memory care facility, a retired UMC bishop learns that the longing for home is an innate hunger, buried deeper than our memories or imaginings. And it lies at the heart of Advent.

The leadership of laughter

Commentary November 10, 2016

Less talk and more joy. Less explanation and more playfulness. Less selling and promoting and more embodying and expressing the sheer wonder and joy of our faith. This is what ministry is meant to be like, grounded in the laughter of God, a seminary professor says in this ordination sermon.

A year in God's time

Commentary November 02, 2016

The first in a series of blog posts by Miranda Harrison-Quillin, invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to join a monastic community in London for 10 months. She will share her insights, experiences and reflections about her new life.

Commentary: Truly welcoming churches create inclusivity

Commentary October 11, 2016

A funny thing happens when people start simply being kind and welcoming to one another. They get to know each other. They gradually come to understand that the one who is different from them also loves Jesus and is doing the best that they can with what they have.

Bishop Carter's reflections on AC 2016

Commentary June 24, 2016

Bishop Carter shares thoughts about the 2016 Annual Conference, including the changing leadership roles for clergy and laity and how the Orlando murders shaped the context of the meeting.

The three-fold practice of abiding

Commentary June 24, 2016

Abiding is difficult in this busy age. But the practices of silent contemplation, shared reflection and anticipation of God’s grace give leaders a way to abide with those they lead, writes a pastor.

Reclaiming the distinctive gifts of a small church

Church Vitality Commentary June 13, 2016

Few places in the U.S. support the conditions for small churches to act like big churches. So they have an opportunity to focus on the activities that both foster the particular gifts of the congregation and make a distinctive witness to the community, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

All things are possible

I love the church. I am not naive about the church, or my own human nature, but I love the church. I loved serving as a pastor in the local church, and now I am blessed in the ministry of being a bishop. My love for the church recognizes her flaws; we hold the treasure of the gospel in earthen vessels, Paul wrote, to show that the transcendent belongs to God and not to us.

Pentecost sermon: Our own native tongue

Commentary May 16, 2016

The image of God at Pentecost is multilingual, multicultural and multi-ethnic, not for a politically correct agenda, but because the gospel demands it. The gospel is polyphonic, the dean of Duke Chapel says in this Pentecost sermon.

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