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SED April 2020 Newsletter

Dear South East District Friends,

My goodness! So much has changed since I last wrote to you. Earlier this year we were gearing up  for a District Training Event followed by a District Youth Event and a host of other activities in your churches this spring. Normally at this time of year you would be making preparations for an Easter Egg Hunt and other festivities, along with meaningful worship for Holy Week and Easter. Things change very quickly and we pause to offer a prayer of humility and gratitude for the very simple pleasure of waking up on a new day, reading an e-mail like this one, and joining with sisters and brothers to tackle the challenges that are coming our way.

As churches, we thrive on community. We rejoice in singing together, laughing together, praying together. We hug, touch, smile, cry, rejoice, and grieve together. Typically, the closer we can be to one another the more we feel like “church.”

The irony of this time of social distancing is that, as Christians, we are being asked to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves by physically separating ourselves from others. This does not feel very loving to most church people. In fact, many of us are having a hard time doing this. We might be asking, “What does social distancing really mean?” “It doesn’t apply to my family, does it? Or to my church? Or to my best friend?” What we are learning is that it applies to just about everyone in your life who is coming into contact with other people on a regular basis. The best way to love them and to love yourself is to isolate yourself from others and be very, very thoughtful about how you are living, breathing, touching and communicating. It is exhausting, and completely new territory, but it is real and it will do exactly what Jesus asks us to do – give life.

Here in the final days of Lent, we remember the very confusing story of the one who gave his life to save ours. We remember that even those closest to Jesus did not understand the story or its purpose at first. Jesus had been quite clear with his disciples about what was to come and what they were to do. But it took them a while. And during the time they questioned, denied, left and doubted, Jesus was crucified and died on a cross.

Jesus died so we might live. Yes, indeed, beyond this earthly life but also in this earthly life as we seek to heed God’s call to be life-givers to others. Giving life today means keeping our distance, being thoughtful about our every action, listening to others, being patient, and holding fast that God is with us. May you be strengthened in every way, knowing that the church exists in greater ways than the walls that hold us physically together. We are experiencing the true church today, as we reach out in love, care, creativity, and concern to one another and to the world. 

In Christ’s never-ending love,

Cynthia D. Weems

 

Update on the SE District Office Operational Schedule

Right now the DS and Norma are working from home. But we are here for you! The District is keeping its regular office hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 am to 1:00 pm on Friday. Norma can be reach via email or through the office number, which it is being routed to Norma’s cell. However, if you leave a message on the office phone she will be unable to receive it. Please try to call again, or please send her an email at flumc-se@flumc.org. You can also reach the DS at ds-se@flumc.org

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty. We are here to assist you in any way and welcome your communications with us.

Stay safe!

 

District Technology Advisors

We have three District Technology Advisors who are volunteering their time to help your church with online worship and other technology issues.

Hedy Collver, Will Day and Stuart Bodin are our District Advisors and they are excited to work with you.

If you would like one of our technology advisors to contact you about your needs and questions, please email the district office at flumc-se@flumc.org in order to connect you to someone who can help. 

 

Information about the Coronavirus/COVID-19 from The Florida Annual Conference

In light of concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the U.S, and specifically Florida, the Florida Conference has developed a series of resources and helpful learnings on our Conference website.  Go to https://www.flumc.org/covid-19-virus-update for the latest updates or click on the link at the top of our home page.
 
There you will find guidance from Bishop Carter, FAQs, worship resources, food pantry guidelines, live streaming tips, a list of churches who are live streaming, online giving options, information on financial relief options and more.    

 

 

 

 

March Reports Deadline Moved to May 31, 2020

March reports are now due no later than May 31, 2020. We will be in contact with the church offices for specifics about these reports and what will need to be sent to our office. You do not need to wait until May 31 to submit the reports. Please send them as you have them ready. The Fund Balance Report is an online only report that is completed through your church dashboard. Please contact our office if you have any questions

These are the six reports that need to be submitted to the district office. Please email them together in one email to me flumc-se@flumc.org. If it is easier for you to mail them, that is fine. Know that I will shred them once they are scanned. The six reports are:

  1. Financial Controls, Policies & Procedures
  2. Document Retention Policy
  3. Clergy Employee Conduct Policy
  4. Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy
  5. Child/Youth Protection Policy
  6. Annual Parsonage Report

The Fund Balance report is submitted online through your Church Dashboard. The District does NOT need a copy of that report. Note: The Disaster Recovery Resource Survey is no longer required.

 

Annual Assessment of Ministerial Effectiveness & Goal Setting

Due May 31

The clergy assessment process is available on the FLUMC website under Clergy Excellence. Appointed Clergy and the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee should meet annually to complete this process. The report is due to the district office every year by May 31. (Continuing Education is now completed in conjunction with the Annual Assessment above.) The completed forms should be emailed to the District Office at flumc-se@flumc.org

 

 

 

April 2- Clergy Meeting with Alex Shanks  -CANCELLED

 

May 24 - SE District Pre-Conference Briefing

Briefing at 1:30 pm in English. Briefing at 2:30 pm in Spanish

May 31 - SE District Pre-Conference Briefing

This briefing will be just in English.