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SED August 2019 Newsletter

Dear South East District Friends,

Greetings to each of you as summer comes to a close.

I have been in Bay View, Michigan this week preaching and lecturing at the Bay View Association, a United Methodist residential community founded in 1875 in the “lower peninsula” of Michigan. Yes, it is quite far north up here. Apparently, I am closer to the North Pole than to the Equator!

The topics of my daily lectures have been the current state of our church and the challenges it faces. I preached on Sunday morning and then am following up each day this week with topics along the same theme. I am talking a lot about our wonderful South East district – some of our challenges as well as the faithful ways we are seeking to be church in a new way and in a new day.

The people here (mostly seasonal residents who spend 8-10 weeks here each summer) have asked great questions after the daily lectures. They have been excited to learn about South Florida and, in particular, the ways we have tackled increasing diversity in our churches. They want to be more hospitable to newcomers in their communities and want to be a part of proactively creating a more welcoming church to younger people. But this is hard work, as we know!

Speaking with them has helped to remind me of how grateful I am for the witness of our churches to Kingdom work in South Florida. It has not been easy for our churches to model what it means to truly live together with persons who are not like us. This is long, hard work and it is not complete. However, I do believe we glimpse each day the beauty of God’s creation in all of its glory. This glory is messy and complicated but also vibrant, bold and full of life.

As we move into a new school year and a full fall of church programming, I want you to be mindful of the ways God is calling us to continually move gracefully into new spaces and places where the true breadth of God’s grace can be felt among persons both inside and outside of our churches. Our diversity is a true gift from God, I believe, and God will continue blessing this gift as we continue to give it away.

In Christ’s peace and love,

Cynthia D. Weems


With Appreciation for the Rev. Sandra Santiago

The SE District is grateful to the Rev. Sandra Santiago!  As most of you know, Sandra works for the Florida UM Foundation and is an ordained elder in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. Recently she has used her gifts throughout the SE District to train and equip our churches and church leaders. The District office wishes to thank Sandra for this added gift to our life together. Mil gracias!


Mandatory Pension Workshop for Hispanic/Latino

This workshop will be in Spanish


2019 Annual Conference Highlights    

Click HERE for the Lay Member Summary Report.

Click HERE for 2019 Annual Conference Videos.   

Click HERE for the AC2019 webpage.                      


Fall Charge Conferences

The South East District will have Cluster Charge Conferences again this fall in the same format as last year. Clergy and Administrative Assistants will be receiving an email soon regarding the dates and locations of these conferences. Charge Conference forms will be on the Conference Website by August 21.


National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training Opportunity

September 21, 2019
9:00 – 11:30 am

In September, First UMC of Homestead is going to be part of a National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training. The simulcast will be broadcast in over 200 locations around the US. The training will be given in TED talk style by leading Youth Ministry voices like Doug Fields, Josh Griffin and Kara Powell plus more!!! This training is being offered for $99 for a church. The church can bring 1 volunteer or 99 and it's the same price –plus they are going to offer lunch to those who make the trip! 

You can find details on how to register, speakers, and other detail items at this address:

Becky Gilbert, Youth Pastor at First UMC Homestead, would like to follow up with you if you are interested in participating with First Homestead. In the meantime, please let her know if you are interested or if you have any questions by emailing her at . She would love to put you on their list!


South East District Church Administrative Training


Who are invited? All administrative professionals who work within a local church in the SE District

When? Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Where?  The District Office at First UMC of Coral Gables

 Please join us to share, learn, and fellowship with others who understand the work that we do. We encourage you to put this date on your calendar today! This is a FREE event.

To register CLICK HERE


Ministry Protection -Reports due August 15-30

Annual Ministry Protection Property and Casualty Insurance Review (Annual Survey). Trustees to review insurance coverage and update online insurance database annually. Annual review period is August 15-30, 2019. This database is also available online year round to enable churches to update insurance data as changes occur. Click here to link to the church dashboard via the insurance database on the Ministry Protection website.   

The Annual Workers Compensation Payroll Audit. Finance/Treasurer to complete this annual payroll audit. Please be sure to project your payroll by category through the end of 2019 when completing this section. Click here between August 15-30 to log into the brief Property & Casualty Survey and Workers' Compensation Audit. (Please note this audit is performed twice a year as part of Florida Legislature Statute 440.381.)


Do No Harm: Mandatory Quadrennial

Sexual Ethics Training


To all Appointed Clergy of the Florida Annual Conference

Register for one of the Mandatory Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training dates listed below. All training sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

  • Tampa at St. James UMC on Tuesday, Sept. 24
  • Jacksonville at Mandarin UMC on Thursday, Oct. 3
  • Gainesville at Trinity UMC on Wednesday, Oct. 9
  • Plantation at Plantation UMC on Tuesday, Oct. 22
  • Orlando at St. Luke's UMC on Wednesday, Nov. 6           

To Register:


Did you have a change in appointment?

If you had a change in appointment you will need to re-enroll in the UMPIP plan because the change in churches is a change in employers with Wespath. Therefore it is necessary to complete the UMPIP enrollment form and submit it to Wespath to be re-enrolled in the plan. The form will also require a signature of the Business Manager or whomever is responsible for your payroll. Please click on the 2019 UMPIP Contribution Form to re-enroll or change your contribution elections.

Also, as of 2018 the tax law changed regarding moving expenses.  If you are reimbursed or if your church paid the moving expense directly to the movers, the moving expense is now taxable income and is also pension eligible. To receive money into your pension plan on the moving expense, please ensure you send in the completed Moving Clergy Expense Form to the district office by September 2nd, 2019.  For additional information on the moving expense tax change, please refer to the link on Moving Expense Q&A. 


Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Clergy Women’s Event

Unchartered –Adventuring the Wilderness with God

This event is open to all female clergy and candidates. "Like" the Facebook page "Uncharted Conference 2019" for all the updates! Click HERE for flyer.


Background Check Information

The Conference is recommending ScreeningOne for background checks. ScreeningOne is a company Ministry Protection has worked with for many years. They currently utilize their services for our Motor Vehicle Record checks for church drivers.
ScreeningOne Representative:  Paul Craddock
Ph:  888-327-6511, ext. 70646

However, you are not limited to using this company only. As long as your background checks include the following screening criteria, you are welcome to use any company you wish:

  • National Criminal Background Search
  • National Sex Offender Search
  • Identity Confirmation

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Search  (New Florida legislation has implemented a $24.00 fee per each name checked)


Bishop Carter to Lead 2020 Holy Land Trip

Join Bishop Ken Carter and the Florida Conference for 10 days in the Holy Land, departing February 4, 2020.

Click here for more information and registration.



Important dates in the United Methodist Church

  • General Conference ♦ May 5-15, 2020 ♦ Minneapolis, MN
  • Annual Conference ♦ June 4-6, 2020 ♦ Florida Southern College, Lakeland
  • Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference ♦ July 15-18, 2020 ♦ Lake Junaluska, NC
  • Annual Conference ♦ June 10-12, 2021 ♦ Lakeland



August 3 - Back to School Extravaganza and Health Fair

Helping to prepare families for back to school with free school supplies, in addition, there will be free diabetes and blood pressure screenings and HIV Testing. Lots of fun, music, games, and food.

August 20 - SE District DCOM Meeting

Materials due: July 23th. Second Provisional attempt

October 15 - SE District DCOM Meeting

Materials due: September 17th. LP License Renewal