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 webadmin@flumc.org or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

Image courtesy of www.ChristianBibleReference.org. Copyright © by Cliff Leitch.

November 13, 2019

Oviedo and University Carillon join community landscaping blitz

There was pressure-washing, marathon style. There was the cutting back of overgrown trees and ...

November 05, 2019

"I was called to mission work in another country."

Deb Ralph of Oakhurst UMC in Seminole is leaving for a mission trip to Kenya, where she will work in discipleship and assist Bishop Justus Bundi Miriti with the project for disabled children.

October 28, 2019

Alturas churches serve community ecumenically

The congregations routinely get together to do things, like the upcoming fall festival, which serves as a Halloween alternative. There are the Christmas cantata, the Easter sunrise service at the lake on the property of the Methodist church and the Fifth Sunday sings.

October 08, 2019

Church partnership bringing arts to its community

Mandarin UMC and the emerging Fine Arts Conservatory team up to fill the gaps in art education, painting, sculpture, theater and music in the community surrounding the church.

September 24, 2019

Ministry is window into the world of immigrant teens

“Picture My Life’’ is a photography exhibit that is spearheaded by UMCM-Suncoast, a Largo-based organization that addresses poverty through innovative educational programs.

September 10, 2019

Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and worship resources

United Methodist Communications provides resources for outreach, celebration and worship.

September 04, 2019

Ecumenical ministry serves nearly 3,000 west coast children

First Sarasota was one of 17 different churches that hosted a Day 4 Hope event over three separate weekends before students headed back to school. Another 23 churches across Sarasota and Manatee counties worked as partners.

August 29, 2019

‘Hippie Church’ is an open, unstructured and inclusive third place

Rev. George Potter, a substance abuse counselor with Recovery Ministry, thought about starting a fellowship, something open and unstructured, for people who felt excluded or uncomfortable in a traditional setting.

August 27, 2019

Cornerstone dares to happen so many can dream

Founded over a century ago, Cornerstone Family Ministries is motivated by reverence for the past, goals for the present and dreams for the future of children living at-risk or unchurched.

August 20, 2019

Students learn about living in meaningful service

“You hear about fighting poverty. Well, there are so many different types of poverty. There’s material poverty, of course. We know that one. But there’s emotional poverty. There’s spiritual poverty. We want students to see poverty everywhere in a way that calls them to minister to it. Sometimes, it’s right in front of you.’’

July 30, 2019

Fresh Expressions thriving at New Hope, Brandon

Beginning in late May, New Hope added four new ministries to its Fresh Expressions lineup: a food co-op, Basketball Church, Meet and Walk and a student-led Caffeine and Christ that meets at a local Starbucks.

July 22, 2019

Japan team finds their mission bridges cultural differences

The mission to the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan had “a different feel. We were immersed in a community of people who were on mission themselves. We were brought in and made part of the family.”

July 18, 2019

Mission u: on missions with children for children

At the United Methodist Women's Mission u in July, hands-on mission experiences shaped the lives of the young children and older youth who participated in making a positive difference in other children’s lives.

July 16, 2019

Small churches can make a big difference

Faith UMC, Jacksonville, partners with World Relief Services (WRS) to host a four-week camp for refugee children. This year about 50 children from Asia, Africa and the Middle East attended.

July 10, 2019

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.

July 08, 2019

Opioid crisis series: Clergy embrace becoming foster parents

The Revs. Matt and Beth Johnson in Morgantown, W.Va., answered the call to become foster parents to children living in what Matt called “a rough situation.” After a two-year process, they were able to adopt the brother and sister they were fostering.

June 25, 2019

Community transformation is long-term commitment

Part of St. Luke's community transformation work in East Winter Garden is named “Door to Curb,” and it helps residents improve the value of their homes and the overall community by enhancing pre-designated homes’ curb appeal.

June 18, 2019

Feeding Tampa Bay ministry blesses all

Think Proverbs 19:17: Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. Those volunteering for Trinity Café say it goes way beyond that. They, too, receive blessings for their ministry with those seeking a hot meal.

June 03, 2019

Riverside members’ homes bring ministry to community

Even though it has only about 70 members, many of them just as poor as the surrounding community, Riverside has three buildings on a sizeable lot. They have little money, but they reach out with what they do have—their time, their buildings, a parking lot and even their own homes.

May 29, 2019

‘On Mission Together’ unites divergent churches in ministry

“Tear down the barriers, and we are one church. It was simply about all of us doing the work Jesus set out for us to do.’’ -Kay Wingard, Covenant UMC Port Orange

May 17, 2019

Innovation creates an autism-friendly service for children

The Azalea Park UMC kids run the full autism spectrum from high functioning to those who need to wear head protection to avoid injuring themselves. Pastor Andrew Miller said he learned to think in terms of ability level instead of linear age.

May 09, 2019

Miami Lakes youth mission: the Holy Spirit in action

“I have been on a lot of mission trips,’’ said Rev. Stuart Bodin, pastor of Miami Lakes UMC. “But I’ve never had a better experience than this one. It was remarkable to feel the Holy Spirit in action and experience that level of faith and love.’’

May 01, 2019

Faith UMC: reaching new people in new ways in new places

Faith United Methodist Church volunteers lead church in Bay Vue Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton.

April 18, 2019

CROS Ministries launches mobile food pantry

In its first three months, 860 individuals were served, 28 percent of whom are children. It reaches an array of people in need: the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly and the working poor who experience food insecurity.

April 12, 2019

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Discipleship Ministries and United States agencies provide a wealth of resources for observing the month in services or classrooms.

April 08, 2019

Killearn iServe volunteers are ‘Earth Angels’

iServe is a grassroots ministry that gives church members an outlet to assist people with pressing needs in the community at no cost.

April 03, 2019

Cuban Methodist church sees massive growth

In the past 16 years alone, Methodist church membership has increased by 306 percent in Cuba, the Communist island nation located 90 miles from Florida’s nearest shore.

April 01, 2019

United Methodists lobby at Florida Advocacy Days

Well over 70 United Methodists from across the Florida Conference assembled in Tallahassee in late March for the annual Florida Advocacy Days.

March 28, 2019

‘We believe the church exists to give itself away’

Hundreds of church members run or volunteer in dozens of missions ranging from a girls’ orphanage in Haiti to an infant rescue station in Kenya to a group of men who teach boys in local high schools how to tie a necktie.

March 21, 2019

North Florida churches: a hand up instead of a hand out

“People will learn how to live independently in a holistic kind of way. We’d like to tap into after-school programs and job training. We want to get much more organized and help grow this to new levels.’’

March 12, 2019

Port Orange ministry takes church beyond walls

The story of how Derbyshire Place and a neglected community named Port Orange came to nourish each other brings to mind a quote from beloved children’s book The Little Prince: “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”

March 11, 2019

Children's Home slates 'A Day on Campus' Mar. 16

The Children’s Home ministers to orphans, children abused and neglected and some with troubled backgrounds. They are provided with shelter, love, education and a way forward in life.

March 07, 2019

Southwest district tackles root causes of homelessness

Homelessness is pervasive in the Florida United Methodist Church Conference’s Southwest District, and churches are using diverse methods to help.

March 05, 2019

Fresh Expressions: Dinner church feeds body, heart and soul

The dinner church approach, primarily driven by lay leaders, reflects John Wesley’s ministry of going into a community to meet the needs of others.

February 26, 2019

Southeast churches include homeless as family

Churches in the Southeast district practice the love and gratitude of radical hospitality.

February 13, 2019

Coalition fights central east coast homelessness

According to the Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit agency, the area’s homelessness has decreased by 70 percent since 2012.

January 22, 2019

Abide 21: Community unites through prayer

Fourteen congregations from Avon Park to Lake Placid, Sebring and smaller communities along the way have joined an ecumenical movement called Abide 21. It consists of 21 days of prayer and fasting from Jan. 6-27.

January 21, 2019

Homeless ministry grows from humble beginnings

Like most acts of kindness, it began with a small idea. Two decades ago, members of Tampa’s affluent Hyde Park United Methodist Church noticed that homeless people were gathering for shelter under a nearby expressway. They were hungry. Why not give them something to eat?

January 07, 2019

Cooperative Ministries: a contemporary mustard seed

United Methodist Cooperative Ministries has grown into a five-county organization serving more than 15,000 people each year, working with approximately 20 local churches and other agencies.

January 02, 2019

Church answers call to foster care crisis

Though the crisis can seem hopeless, a local Palm Beach County church, Community of Hope, adopted the motto, “Everyone can do something,” and has begun slowly and carefully to put care and concern into action.

December 17, 2018

Playing music can connect children to God

“We want to teach children how to play music to help them better connect with God,” program founder Gary Brosch said. “I wanted to give them a gift that keeps on giving.”

December 04, 2018

St. John's is re-purposing a community mission

Four miles from Winter Haven's St. John’s United Methodist Church, in unincorporated Wahneta, a community mission, Casa Vida, is being re-purposed. Rev. David Averill, pastor at St. John’s, is helping transition missions like Casa Vida that are at the end of their life cycles.

November 28, 2018

School fills need for speech, occupational therapy

Carol Hilson never imagined how much of a role speech and occupational therapy would play in the preschool at Community Methodist Church in Fort Pierce when she began the program 30 years ago.

October 18, 2018

Missionary inspired by Brazilian churches’ vibrancy

“When you go to Africa, Asia and South America, in as much as people have knowledge, they understand the importance of God. They might not be practically involved in the church, but they have the belief that without God they are nothing. People in need grow closer to God than people who have plenty.”

October 08, 2018

Clean water in Cuba flows from Agape-Church partnerships

Venice-based Agape Flights, a Christian missionary program that sends charitable goods to many foreign lands, is partnering with the 43 United Methodist churches in Florida’s Southwest District to provide desperately needed water filtration units for Cuban churches.

October 04, 2018

Mosaic provides Brevard’s first cold-weather shelter

In addition to giving people a safe, warm place to stay, Mosaic Palm Bay UMC’s shelter is an opportunity for the Brevard Homeless Coalition, an umbrella organization of about 75 agencies, to provide aid for people who are otherwise living on the streets.

October 01, 2018

East Angola mission delivers on saving lives

“It’s literally life and death,” said Rev. Armando Rodriguez, who serves as the pastor at First United Methodist Church in Bartow. “There are people dying for lack of medicine. It would be a sin not to help.”

September 05, 2018

Churches, Family Promise battle Central Florida homelessness

In the shadow of Walt Disney World, which calls itself the happiest place on Earth, there is another, far-different story taking place.

August 14, 2018

Repurposed church is a Fresh Expression

New Hope United Methodist Church in Brandon took on a weekly meal for the homeless in a run-down church building and transformed it in to a community Dinner Church, reaching out to families who might otherwise never cross a sanctuary threshold.

August 09, 2018

Churches intentional about being school stakeholders

Long before the school summer recess reached its waning days, United Methodist churches throughout Florida were planning events, organizing services and collecting supplies to prepare students in need for the upcoming year.

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