Main Menu

Foundation reports record growth, invites Methodists to shared ministries

Foundation reports record growth, invites Methodists to shared ministries

LAKELAND -- At its annual meeting Saturday, the Florida United Methodist Foundation reported record growth in the assets it manages for churches and donors, as well as an increase of its loan portfolio to an all-time high of $106.9 million. 

Rev. Mark Becker speaks to Annual Conference
Rev. Mark Becker, Florida United Methodist Foundation chairperson, addresses Annual Conference. Photo by Dave Walter.

Rev. Mark Becker, the foundation's Board of Directors chairperson, reported the results to the full Florida Annual Conference audience. He  invited all churches and individuals to be in relationship with the foundation, citing its mission: “to strengthen ministries of United Methodist churches and agencies by promoting comprehensive Christian stewardship through education, consulting, development and financial services.”

Becker noted that the foundation has adopted a new strategic plan that envisions an expansion of ministries and services that will include:

• Communications: telling the foundation's story in various languages and culturally relevant ways that can reach persons of all ages, ethnicities and genders.
• Offering new and innovative products and services that will allow the foundation to expand beyond its current boundaries.
• Seeking collaborative partnerships with other United Methodist and faith-based agencies to nurture new ministries.
• Affirming a commitment to comprehensive Christian stewardship as a means of strengthening and expanding shared ministries.

Becker noted that the foundation had made a $40,000 challenge grant to support the conference initiative for leadership development for young clergy of color, one of three initiatives designated for the bishop’s offering at the Annual Conference event.  Becker said foundation directors were delighted to support the initiative and had set it up as a challenge to encourage all conference churches and delegates to give all they can, knowing that their gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar – up to $40,000 -- by the grant.  

The foundation also has agreed to join other partners in funding a new ministry proposed by Bishop Ken Carter that will support joint missional experiences for young adults from the Florida and Western North Carolina conferences.  Becker said the young adults will serve together in areas where there is great need in both states. 

Bethune-Cookman students paint during Bahamas mission trip
Bethune-Cookman University students paint the home of a person in need during a mission trip to North Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Photo from the Florida United Methodist Foundation.

During the report, Becker said the foundation also had provided a grant to Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) to fund a spring break ministry in which honor students from B-CU traveled to North Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas to minister to children and youth and to help with painting and fix-up projects for local residents.  The foundation showed a brief video highlighting that ministry.

During the business meeting, Becker asked conference delegates to vote on a resolution amending the foundation’s Articles of Incorporation governing the size and composition of its board of directors.

The resolution, which was approved by conference delegates, expands the current board size from 15 to a number determined by the foundation’s bylaws, up to 25.  The resolution sets 15 as a minimum number for the board of directors. 

Additionally, the resolution set the “class size” of incoming board members of from five to seven members.  And, in keeping with recent changes in conference staffing, the resolution proposed that the board have three “ex officio” members from the Annual Conference.  They are the bishop, the conference treasurer and director of Connectional Ministries or their representatives.

Following passage of the amendment to the foundation’s Articles of Incorporation, Becker presented a proposed slate of directors for 2013-14.

The expanded board will include 19 members, including five new members:  Rev. Lawrence Barriner, pastor of Simpson Memorial UMC, Jacksonville; Dr. Markita Cooper, associate dean of academic affairs at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando; Andrew McEntire, owner of Indie Atlantic Films, Lakeland; Rev. Steve Price, co-pastor of Harvest UMC, Bradenton; and Jane Zody, manager of accounting systems for the state board of administration for the State of Florida, Tallahassee.  The slate of new and current members was approved by the vote of Annual Conference delegates.  The new members will begin their board service on July 1.

*Suzanne McGovern is vice president of communications with the Florida United Methodist Foundation.

Rev. Lawrence Barriner Andrew McEntire Rev. Steve Price Jane Zody
Rev. Lawrence Barriner Dr. Markita Cooper Andrew McEntire Rev. Steve Price Jane Zody