Dear North East District Family,
A few days ago I returned from the Simpkins Wesley Study Tour. The tour was created by Bernie Simpkins years ago to provide a way for clergy (and their spouses) in the Florida Conference to visit the sites in England important to John Wesley’s life and ministry. We send a total of 12 people (clergy and spouses) each year. If you would like more information about applying, please contact the Office of Clergy Excellence.
The trip was truly inspiring for me. It helped reconnect me to the founder of our Methodist movement and remind me of John Wesley’s core values for our church. On our first day, we stopped in a little village called Englesea-Brook where the very first Primitive Methodist Church is located. I was unfamiliar with the Primitive Methodists. They were a reform movement started about 20 years after John Wesley’s death. In just that short time period, people felt Methodism had lost its way and needed reform back to its roots. The guide who took us through the small church used a wonderful phrase: the mahoganization of Methodism. She talked about how the Methodist movement felt it needed to become “respectable” and abandoned its roots of engaging the poor, helping them to find Jesus, and bettering their lives.
Since that day, I’ve thought a lot about the mahoganization of Methodism. Even Wesley’s Chapel in London has been mahoganized. When the chapel was first built (similar to the New Room in Bristol), it had no pews, just inexpensive benches. It also allowed the room to be used for other ministries including a food pantry, clothes closet, medicine dispensary, and school. Wesley wanted to save as much money as possible in the construction so the savings could be used for the poor. Today, you’ll find mahogany pews and memorial markers all over the walls of Wesley’s Chapel. There is a beautiful, new communion rail in front of the older, more simpler one. It’s been mahoganized.
I wonder how many of our churches and the people in them have been mahoganized? How many of us are more worried about how respectable our churches seem and how comfortable they are for us instead of making sure that we use as much money as possible to spread the Gospel and help those less fortunate? I’m certainly guilty of taking part in the mahoganization of Methodism. I like my creature comforts. I like my desires and wants taken care of and often think of them first before others.
I think John Wesley would tell us to get out of our churches and start preaching in the fields. Today, it might look like meeting new people in new places and in new ways (Fresh Expressions). I think he would remind us that our money should follow the mission and not for our own benefits and desires.
What about you? Has your congregation fallen prey to the mahoganization of Methodism? What questions do you and your leadership team need to ask about your priorities and resources? If I’m honest, I think we’ve probably all strayed quite a bit from John Wesley’s original motives. Maybe we need to tear down some of the “mahogany” and use it stoke a fire of revival as well as getting out of the pews and into the streets.
All God’s love,
Our Super-Charged Conference Event is in 15 days. Are you ready?
Gift Cards for CCW - Don't forget to pick up a gift card from Publix, Costco and Walmart for our CCW Campus Ministry! These gift cards will help the CCW team with their outreach to college students on multiple campuses. We will have a collection box at Super-Charged Conference. Pick one or a few up and bring them with you to Super-Charged Conference!
Coffee at Super-Charged Conference - We encourage you to let coffee make a big difference at the Super-Charged Conference this year. Also, the Unleashed founders will be staffing the coffee station if you wish to explore bringing this type of coffee impact to your church. If you have any inquires in the meantime, they can be directed to email@example.com.
Super-Charged Conference T-Shirts - We are selling Super-Charged Conference t-shirts with all proceeds going to our campus ministry program - CCW. Cost is $12 per t-shirt and we have Mens and Womens sizes from Small - 2XL. You can pre-order online and pick up your t-shirt on the morning of Super-Charged Conference, October 20, 2018 @ CrossRoad UMC. You also have the option to purchase onsite with a check made out to "NE District UMC" or cash (exact change only please - $12.).
Report of the Retired Pastor - Did you know that we now have a report for retired pastors? If you are a retired pastor currently not under appointment, we want to hear from you at charge conference. Please submit this report to the church office where your charge conference relationship is held.
SPRC Trainings - The district superintendent will conduct SPRC Trainings, one on November 27, 2018 @ Lake Shore UMC, Jacksonville, 2246 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210 & the other on December 13, 2018 @ St. Paul UMC, 8264 Lone Star Road, Jacksonville, FL 32211 from 7-9 p.m. Both trainings will take place in the sanctuary.
We ask that all SPRC chairs/committee members attend one of these trainings, especially if they will be new to their position in January 2019. As a reminder to you, S/PPRCs ARE NOT authorized to take a vote on whether their pastor should remain or moved unless you specifically receive permission from the district superintendent. Your entire team is welcome to attend. This training is free to attend, but please register so we can plan for the trainings.
Finance/Trustees Trainings - We welcome all Finance Committee Team Members and Trustees Committee Team Members to a Finance/Trustees Training. This training will involve all aspects of Finance and Trustees. This training will take place on the following dates and locations:
Please sign up to attend. There is no cost to attend, but please register so we can prepare accordingly for the trainings.
Come to a youth group retreat at Lake Junaluska this winter for adventure, spiritual growth and worship in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Energized worship with great bands is built into every program weekend, and groups can choose to ski, do a mission project or participate in other activities during the day. Find more information at www.lakejunaluska.com/winteryouth.
Due to unforeseen circumstances the Walks scheduled for October have been postponed. We will inform the Community as soon as new Walk dates are available. For more information about Emmaus,
October 10, 2018 – District Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30 – 3 @ Fleming Island UMC – Brown Bag Lunch. All full-time clergy serving a local church are required to attend.
October 20, 2018 - Super-Charged Conference, 9 - 12 @ CrossRoad UMC, Jacksonville. All clergy are required to attend.
October 22, 2018 - District Dashboard Update Day
October 24, 2018 - Equip Master Class Series - Worship Design Team, 11:30 a.m. @ Fleming Island UMC. Bring a brown-bagged lunch.
November 6, 2018 - Finance/Trustees Training, 7-9 PM @ Lakewood UMC, 6133 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217
November 7, 2018 - Finance/Trustees Training, 7-9 PM @ First UMC, 500 Walnut St, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
November 14 , 2018 - Equip Master Class Series - Special Services, 11:30 a.m. @ Fleming Island UMC. Bring a brown-bagged lunch.
November 27, 2018 – SPRC Training, 7-9 PM @ Lake Shore UMC
January 24, 2019 – 6th Ecumenical Vespers Service with Bishop Carter preaching, 6 p.m. @ Southside UMC
March 27, 2019 – District Clergy/Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. @ Fleming Island UMC. Bring a brown-bagged lunch.
April 12-13, 2019 - Spring Lay Servant Training @ Palm Coast UMC - Save the Date!
May 15, 2019 - DCOM - Provisional. Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 14, 2019 - DCOM - Provisional (retrys only) Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information - email@example.com.
September 18, 2019 – District Admin Brunch, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. @ Southside UMC - Save the Date!
October 1, 2019 – Clergy Compensation Forms Due to District Office
October 9, 2019 – District Clergy/Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. @ Fleming Island UMC. Bring a brown-bagged lunch.
October 26, 2019 – Super-Charged Conference, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. @ CrossRoad UMC (PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE!)
October 28, 2019 – Church Dashboard Update Day
December 11, 2019 - Recerts/Certs/LP - Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011