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.

December 04, 2019

We Must Fight The Good Fight For Our Environment

Floridians face an urgent need to act against climate change to preserve God’s creation for future generations.

September 30, 2019

Fifteen ways to pray for your pastor

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.

August 06, 2019

A Call to Discipleship: Living as Disciples of a Non-Violent Lord in a Time of Violence

What is God’s dream for us? How can we become the answer to the words we say in worship, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”? (Matthew 6). In Wesley’s words, we are being called “to reform the nation, particularly the church, and to spread scriptural holiness over the land.” -A letter from Bishop Ken Carter

June 26, 2018

The Gospel, a stranger and the burnt ends of the brisket (Luke 24. 13–35)

Who was the stranger who joined us when we sat down to break bread together at the Haywood Smokehouse?

June 21, 2018

5 other Bible verses for Jeff Sessions to consider

"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."

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.

December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Luke tells the story of the birth of Christ.

December 14, 2017

Bishop Carter's Christmas message

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.

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?

May 22, 2017

Is the Old Testament dying?

“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.”

April 12, 2017

Bishop Carter: The hope of Easter

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."

April 07, 2017

The ways we die

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?"

March 08, 2017

The challenge of leading together

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.

March 07, 2017

Taking inspiration from legacies in London monastery

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.

February 28, 2017

Commentary: Working to make ends meet in Central Florida

Rev. Scott George, senior pastor of Pine Castle UMC in Orlando and the development director of Orlando Hope calls for healing and wholeness for all.

February 27, 2017

This Lent, adopt the role of comforter as a spiritual discipline

Being “called to the side of another” is a difficult venture, but one that is a mandate from God, writes a managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

December 30, 2016

Loving God with our minds: A bishop’s reading through 2016

Bishop Ken Carter shares fifteen books he read in 2016. One of the ways God blesses us is with the ideas, narratives and worlds created by a fascinating diversity of women and men.

December 26, 2016

'Yuletide Chat': Thoughts for after Christmas

It's time to pack up the Christmas ornaments of 2016, but not the spiritual reflections that come with the season. Originally published in December 2012.

December 19, 2016

'Yuletide Chat': Pondering the meaning of Christmas

Yuletide Chat with Bishop Ken Carter continues with some of the bishop's favorite themes for the Advent season. Originally published in December 2012.

December 16, 2016

Bishop Carter's Christmas reflection

Bishop Ken Carter shares a Christmas reflection with John 1:14 as the scriptural reference.

December 12, 2016

Bishop's 'Yuletide Chat' contemplates Peaceable Kingdom

The third installment in Bishop Ken Carter's Advent series focuses on interpretations of the vision by the prophet Isaiah. Originally published on December 16, 2012.

December 09, 2016

Observing Advent in London's Lambeth Palace

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.

December 05, 2016

'Yuletide Chat' with Bishop Carter continues

Bishop Carter's Yuletide Chat, a series of messages for Advent season, continues. Originally published on December 9, 2016.

December 02, 2016

Life lessons learned in Cuba

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.

November 30, 2016

'Yuletide Chat' with Bishop Carter starts today

Bishop Ken Carter celebrates the Christmas season with tips for pastors and worshipers and some of his favorite sermon ideas from Christmases past. Originally published on December 2, 2012.

November 18, 2016

Advent, and the longing for home

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.

November 10, 2016

The leadership of laughter

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.

November 02, 2016

A year in God's time

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.

October 16, 2016

What I learned at VBS this summer

A pastor charged with teaching a third grade VBS class realized she was learning not only from the children but with them, by openheartedly engaging in the activities meant for kids.

October 11, 2016

Commentary: Truly welcoming churches create inclusivity

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.

August 08, 2016

Economics and the emerging church

Many congregations dream of being places of radical welcome, but that vision is not sustainable through tithing alone. It’s time to think differently about how to accomplish such work, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

August 05, 2016

Bishop Carter: Why we need evangelicals

“Evangelical” is the good news that points to Jesus and his coming kingdom which forgives our sin, overcomes our injustices and heals our divisions.

July 29, 2016

The most ignored commandment

It's one of the Bible's most well-known commandments. So why aren't we following it? Commentary is courtesy Relevant Magazine.

July 07, 2016

Faith, Hope and Racial Injustice: A Response from the Florida Conference Cabinet

In light of recent violent events, this is a re-posting of the Florida Conference Cabinet's December 12, 2014 "statement of faith and hope in a time of racial injustice."

July 05, 2016

Survey provides insight into what seekers want from church

Spiritual growth and community top the list.

June 27, 2016

When believers don't believe

"A faith that has lost the ability to imagine the other’s existence is stale and loses the capacity to stir the spirit of love."

June 24, 2016

Bishop Carter's reflections on AC 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.

June 24, 2016

The three-fold practice of abiding

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.

June 13, 2016

Reclaiming the distinctive gifts of a small church

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.

May 19, 2016

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.

May 18, 2016

What C.S. Lewis teaches us about losing and finding faith again

How skepticism can actually strengthen our faith.

May 16, 2016

Pentecost sermon: Our own native tongue

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.

May 04, 2016

Mother of Methodism: Susanna Wesley

This Mother's Day we honor Susanna Wesley. The example of faith and religious reverence she set for her children John and Charles inspired them to become powerful spiritual leaders and to launch the Methodist movement.

April 29, 2016

On being hunted by the Gospel

The sense of fear that perhaps just over my shoulder Jesus is waiting for me makes hair stand up on my arms.

April 20, 2016

God's gift of the earth: A photo prayer

This video features stunning images of Nature along with the beautiful words of a prayer written by United Methodist Bishop Ken Carter when he was a pastor in North Carolina.

April 12, 2016

Treasure hidden in a field

"So what do you think will happen at the General Conference?” I’m often asked that question. Underneath are a variety of unspoken emotions: fear, anxiety, sadness, anticipation, excitement. It’s a question that’s voiced this year, perhaps with a greater sense of urgency, but it’s one we have asked before.

March 29, 2016

Christian cliches we shouldn't use

Jonathan Merritt discusses Adam Hamilton's new book, "Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say."

March 28, 2016

11 contemporary authors Christians should read

Good literature broadens our perspectives. Through fiction, we can experience war, infidelity, the loss of a lover. To an extent, we can empathize and understand the pain others go through.

March 28, 2016

Peace building through the arts

The arts are a starting place for addressing what different faiths have in common, says the founder of a nonprofit that hosts interfaith art exhibitions around the world.

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