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On Monday, August 11, 1755, John Wesley introduced what was probably the first real celebration of the Covenant Service in the Methodist movement.

Wesley found the service rich and meaningful, as expressed in his journal: "Many mourned before God, and many were comforted" (April 1756); "It was, as usual, a time of remarkable blessing" (October 1765). "It was an occasion for a variety of spiritual experiences .... I do not know that ever we had a greater blessing. Afterwards many desired to return thanks, either for a sense of pardon, for full salvation, or for a fresh manifestation of His graces, healing all their backslidings" (January 1, 1775).

In London these services were usually held on New Year's Day. Around the country the Covenant Service was conducted whenever John Wesley visited the Methodist societies.

After the time of Wesley, several versions of the Covenant Service were developed, gradually giving Wesley's material less place in the total service. The present service follows our Basic Pattern of Worship, enables the congregation to participate more fully, and updates language. Most significantly, the liturgy, beginning with the Invitation, is taken directly from Wesley's service of 1780.

The heart of the service, focused in the Covenant Prayer, requires persons to commit themselves to God. 

I can remember as a child our family gathering on New Years’ Eve, usually with a delicious “shrimp boil,” a tradition carried from my father’s family in Mobile, Alabama. After dinner, my mother would gather us in the living room, and we would go around the family circle sharing a wish or hope for the coming year. 

The Covenant Service is most commonly held on New Year's Eve or Day and therefore is sometimes called a Watch Night Service. I’ll be using part of the Covenant Service in Worship in preparation for Holy Communion Sunday, January 2, at Trinity, Tallahassee, at all three morning worship services. 

In preparation for the new year, what is your hope or prayer for your family, our community, and the world in the coming year? Let me invite you to prepare for worship this Sunday with an intentional focus on what you might leave behind from last year and possibly take on in the new year. 

Here is Wesley’s Covenant Prayer that could be included in your worship services on January 2. 

“Lord make me what you will. I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal. O God, I seek to make this covenant with you today without regret or reservation. You have now become my Covenant Friend. And I through your infinite grace, have become your covenant servant. Let this covenant that I have made on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen.” 


I Love Being Your District Superintendent, 
















NW District January Clergy Gatherings

All Clergy and Lay Leaders are invited to attend a conversation with Alex Shanks, Assistant to the Bishop and Wayne Wiatt, District Superintendent to discuss “The Continuing United Methodist Church”.

PLEASE NOTE: RSVP TO PEGGY REQUIRED (Since food is involved).

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Join us at either of these two locations:

Wesley Memorial UMC, Lake City (1272 SW McFarlane Avenue; 386/752-3513)

            10:00am Presentation and Discussion

            12noon- Lunch and Conversation

Trinity UMC, Tallahassee (120 W. Park Avenue; 850/222-1120)

            3:00 pm - Heavy Horderves

            3:30pm Presentation and Discussion


The Council of Bishops has cast a vision for a future United Methodist Church that transcends the labels some church members use to describe themselves.

“We cannot be a traditional church or a progressive church or a centrist church. We cannot be a gay or straight church,” asserts what the bishops have titled “A Narrative for the Continuing United Methodist Church.”

The bishops’ narrative, instead, envisions a denomination rooted in Scripture, centered in Christ and welcoming to all churchgoers — however they identify.

Christ’s prayer for our unity and command to gather all to the table, to make space for one another, appreciate one another, and look for Christ in each other, prohibit us from creating individual tables only for those who think, act, look, and perceive the world like we do. 

Our churches must be more than echo chambers made in our own image arguing with each other while neglecting our central purpose. This is the way of the world.

To learn more:

Read “A Narrative for the Continuing United Methodist Church”




By Piper Ramsey-Sumner


Fresh Expressions Florida invites you to the FX Studio!

Do you have ideas, hopes, and some energy in your community to create new spaces for those outside the traditional church to explore their spirituality, connect with others, and expand the ways church is done? FX Studio might be the perfect place to start!


This training is built on collective vision casting and problem solving. The Studio meets biannually for a deep dive into what Fresh Expressions is all about and time to brainstorm and build a plan with others to make your dream a reality. And it offers support for you and your Fresh Expressions team in the interim.

Join on Saturday, January 8, 9 am-12 pm EST! RSVP by registering at the link below:


The Fresh Expressions Journey: Building Community

Once the work of listening to God and your community and loving and serving has begun, the third step of building community begins. This part of the Fresh Expressions Journey is where things really start to happen! A community begins to emerge as others join and befriend you through activities and time spent together.

An essential aspect of building community is to find your core team. One person should not go on this adventure alone. You need two or three people that you trust who share your heart for the people you love and serve and who have the energy and passion to put in the work alongside you. With your team, you can work together to create a space where a healthy and supportive spiritual community can flourish.

Whatever you decide to base your community around–whether it’s a hobby, a meal, or a cause–the most important thing you can do is to simply show up. Remember that repeated actions build relationships. Be a constant in someone’s life. Be present at every gathering you can and make sure everyone leaves feeling heard, loved, and valued.

Remember that this can often be a slow process. Some groups do not truly become communities until months or years into their existence. Community takes time and patience. As your community grows, a shared sense of identity will form. People know what to expect and know the others who will be there. Friendships deepen, new members are invited in, and conversations become more meaningful and vulnerable. You begin to share life together!

As always, reach out to me at any time. I'd love to connect with you and your community to help you explore new ways of reaching new people!

Piper Ramsey-Sumner

Cultivator of Fresh Expressions










Educational Opportunities Lands of the Bible Cruise with Bishop Carter

Join us along with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter on a 13 day Lands of the Bible Cruise aboard the Celebrity Apex, starting at $4,698* from New York, NY departing on September 22, 2022. Journey to places such as Rome, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ephesus, Bethlehem, Athens, and much more!













Plans are underway for Children's Week Florida 2022, including the annual tradition of the Celebration of the Hands at the Capitol Rotunda. We hope you are just as excited as we are for next year's in-person event!

Celebration of the Hands is a stunning display of children's hand artwork, through which representatives, senators, advocates, families, and visitors alike are reminded that Florida's children are impacted by policy decisions made by the legislature.

We need your help to create the 2022 display and are now accepting hand artwork. This is a fun activity that early educators can do with the children in their classroom or that families can do together at home.

More information and instructions about Celebration of the Hands is included in the flyer below. Please feel free to share this email with your friends and colleagues.





We’re offering a very special “MLK” Edition of Bishop Palmer’s Leadership Clinic on January 11, 2022 from 10-12 EST, via Live Webcast. We will welcome a theological mentor to many, Dr. Willie Jennings. Dr. Jennings is the Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School. He is also well-published, authoring several books and over 40 scholarly essays. Dr. Jennings is a Calvin College graduate, receiving his M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Duke. This ordained Baptist pastor is recognized as a major figure in theological education across North America. 

We’re offering a special price of $10 for this MLK Edition with all proceeds going to the UMC’s General Commission on Religion and Race to support their ongoing work in helping the church and the world to be free from the brokenness of racism.

As with past Clinics, this will be a live webcast. There will be a 30 minute teaching session followed by Bishop Palmer’s interview, ending with questions from the audience. Everyone who registers will receive 30-day access to this Clinic. 

CLICK HERE to register and to learn more about Dr. Jennings.






First United Methodist Monticello

Help Needed: Little Angels Preschool, Monticello, is hiring full and part time preschool teachers and custodian. Please contact Connie at 850-997-6400 for further information.