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 email@example.com or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.
Take a Good Vacation
When I was a pastor I tried to work hard. When I was ordained, I promised that I would devote myself fully to God and God’s work. I learned that the only way to accomplish that vow over time was to...
Commentary: Looking at the totality of Jesus' sacrifice for each of us
Maybe we know the Easter story too well. Familiarity can cause even the most magnificent event to lose impact.
What Christians Need to Know About Policies that Exclude DEI and CRT
Our Florida State Legislature is in session making policy from March 7 to May 5, 2023. Once again, the members of the Florida Conference Public Policy and Witness Antiracism Team want to empower ...
Commentary: As Methodists grapple with disaffiliation, the world is watching
Do we continue to show the love of Christ even in our denominational disagreements? Or is it more about following rules?
Things are going to get messy: New rituals can help
Across our connection, many United Methodists are engaging in conversations about the future of the denomination. Some conversations are formal, some informal, some heated, some even-keeled, but most are imbued with an existential anxiety of what might be.
"Justice is what love looks like in public"
It is not surprising to hear about the church bearing witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ by feeding the hungry, housing the houseless, visiting those in prison and providing disaster relief. ...
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.
Twenty years later, the memories of Sept. 11 remain vivid
Anyone old enough to remember the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, certainly remembers where they were when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell. For me, though, watching the destruction live on ...
Commentary: The Christmas Star can bring light into our darkness
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.
A Call for Justice and Action in "Celebration" of Hispanic Heritage Month
The notion that celebration is how we best honor the beautiful heritage of the Latinx diaspora misses the much larger call placed on us as Christians that supersedes a simple homage for 30 days.
Loving God, Loving Our Neighbor and Rendering to Caesar
What if our learning, in an election year, is that we are called to integrate our spiritual and civic lives, to love God, to love our neighbor and to render to Caesar as disciples of Jesus?
What is the role of our faith in public life?
Methodist Christians have a long history of connecting faith and social action. At our best, Methodist Christians are known for their “practical divinity” in that you see them singing, praying, ...
We've Come This Far By Faith
The fight for racial justice, equality, and equity continues decades later, against the backdrop of de facto segregation that still exists today.
Sobering racial statistics on healthcare demand systemic resolution
African-American mothers are 243% more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women.
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.
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.
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
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?
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."
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.
Luke tells the story of the birth of Christ.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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."
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
'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.
Bishop Carter's Christmas reflection
Bishop Ken Carter shares a Christmas reflection with John 1:14 as the scriptural reference.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Survey provides insight into what seekers want from church
Spiritual growth and community top the list.