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.

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.

August 07, 2018

Children’s Home expansion creates outreach opportunities

Dreams for the 20,000 square foot building include developing a support system for young parents and creating community service projects for children who have aged out of the program.

July 17, 2018

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.

July 02, 2018

Mission U to build on covenant relationship

Mission U takes place at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach July 12-15 and is open to all wishing to study the covenant relationship practiced by The United Methodist Church.

June 25, 2018

Churches approach 'Brain Fitness' intergenerationally

College students see that what textbooks say about dementia isn’t what people living with dementia are; they can be contributing members of the community for a long time. Club members, many of them doctors, lawyers and businesspeople, mentor the students and feel a sense of accomplishment.

June 19, 2018

Churches bridge the summer hunger gap for children

About 21 percent of Florida children are considered “food insecure,” meaning they do not have regular access to healthy food, according to the federal government. To combat that during the school year, these children receive free breakfast and lunch at school. In the summer, feeding programs provide nourishment.

June 14, 2018

UM ARMY is transforming for young adults on mission

Working with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners in Gulfport, this June young adults will be painting, doing minor floor repairs, working on siding and debris cleanup, among other things.

May 28, 2018

CROS Ministries celebrates 40 years of collaboration

One of the greatest successes has been the transformation of people's lives, from the volunteers to the people we serve. To be able to touch a person's life is an honor and privilege. We are the hands and feet of God, bringing God's love into reality for those struggling with daily living.

May 21, 2018

Florida team ministers in Brazilian Amazonia

Using a Methodist-owned boat turned floating clinic, doctors, nurses and other helpers navigated tributaries to the Amazon River and offered health clinics to indigenous populations. All photos by Rev. Armando Rodriguez.

May 21, 2018

ZOE empowers orphans, vulnerable children in Africa

ZOE ’s approach has proven that children living in poverty also hold the greatest capacity to create lasting solutions for themselves, their families and their communities.

May 08, 2018

New missional connection brings disciples from Argentina to Florida

The missional roots of the Florida Conference are growing a new discipleship network with Argentina.

May 01, 2018

A heart for things to be just and right in the world

UMC members from churches around Hillsborough County, joining with the interfaith group Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality (HOPE), focus on a few issues each year that they believe need immediate attention.

April 17, 2018

'Rough Cut Men' offers no-holds-barred testimony, hope

Faced with what was literally a life-defining moment, David Dusek met God on top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Today his ministry, Rough Cut Men, is creating bonds through straight-up testimony and trusting relationships.

April 10, 2018

Sanford outreach: 'more blessings than we give out'

Beyond the town's eclectic shops and 19th-century architecture, Sanford, Florida, has people in need. Churches, a nonprofit with a professional chef and other volunteers have joined to spread gospel through action.

April 04, 2018

Alachua interfaith coalition responds to past hatred

Responding to former evangelical Pastor Terry Jones' burning of the Quran in 2010, Alachua County churches and other organizations formed a coalition to create change. They recently completed their sixth Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build Day.

March 27, 2018

Churches 'show up to be Jesus' in Jacksonville's inner city

Churches in Jacksonville are often challenged to define the role of faith in ministering to disadvantaged neighborhoods. Rev. Juana Jordan, who grew up in the city, says it's really a matter of "showing up and being Jesus" to those in need. Two pastors and one layperson talk about listening and offering a presence in the inner city.

March 27, 2018

Parkland March 'deeply grounded in the way of Jesus'

Christ Church Pastor Brett Opalinski said it was like "sitting across the table from someone and hearing their story of pain." Congregants from the Fort Lauderdale church joined 30,000 others, March 24, in the "March for Our Lives" in Parkland. It was a moment to remember 17 students and faculty who died Feb. 14 and to voice a need for change in current gun legislation.

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