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SED August 2021 Newsletter

A message from the District Lay Leader, Dr. Judith Pierre-Okerson

We can truly say we are living a challenging time. We have endured political turmoil and blatant racism. There is a deadly virus that has been hovered over our world for the past 19 months. Nineteen months that have dramatically changed the way we relate to each other. As of this writing, there have been more than 4 million known deaths related to the virus worldwide. As a denomination, we have been frustrated with the postponement of a General Conference that we believe would bring closure to an inevitable separation, yet some of us wish that time never comes about as it has potential to fragment communities and relationship that we cherish dearly. Here in South Florida, we woke up the morning of June 24 with the horrible news of the collapse of the Surfside Building.  Our fears and anxiety level rose as each day passed by, as we slowly let go of the hope that there would be a miracle, the rescue workers would pull out at least one survivor out of the debris. While mourning the lives of small children who have not yet fully live life, young people who were full of promising futures, and older adults who were enjoying retirement, we woke up to yet another tragic news on July 7.  The President of Haiti was brutally slaughtered in his residence in the presence of his wife. While still trying to make sense of these horrific realities, other catastrophes in other part of this country and the world are competing for our attention. We heard about Earthquakes of great magnitude as far as Tajikistan and as close as Haiti and Dominican Republic; deadly floods that swept  through parts of Europe killing close to 200 people in Germany and Belgium; windstorm in Gambia killing approximately 12 people and displacing more than 150;  wildfire in Russia, Greece, Israel, California, Arizona. I just painted a loomed picture didn’t I? All these things make us wonder are there any better day ahead of us? In these tough times, we are living, it is somehow difficult to look beyond what is happening around us and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I cannot help but to reflect on the 2021 United Methodist Women  Mission u Event theme There’s Far More Here Than Meets The Eye” based on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  The passage translated in the Message as such:  “So, we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times; the lavish celebration prepared for us.” There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

This gives us a different perspective, a different way to look at life. Yes, the different catastrophes, tragedies are depressing. The things we hear and/or read about on the news seem to be doomy and gloomy. But we still can experience joy, peace, and hope in Jesus. Amid life cacophony, we can sing a new song. Hope in the future makes all the things that seem so big and terrifying as small little specks in the big picture of life.

Therefore, as we grapple with the uncertain future of our denomination, we pray that the Lord may open our eyes that we may see, where He is leading us. As we wrestle against discrimination, racism and prejudices in our church, society, and the world, we ask that the Lord help us use this opportunity to love our neighbors and open their eyes to Her great love for them. As we reflect on the natural disasters and tragedies caused by mankind, we ask that the Lord help us to be more aware of His protection, so we can seek shelter in His embrace. As we struggle to cope with the consequences of this pandemic, we ask that the Lord help us see the unseen so we can recognize His presence in our lives, in our community and in our country.  We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SE Clergy – Mark your calendars!

In person Fall Clergy Meeting with Bishop Carter

When: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Christ, Fort Lauderdale

All full-time clergy in the local church are expected to attend. All part time, lay supply, and clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.

Full-time clergy appointed to the local church who will not attend, must email DS Cynthia Weems to request to be excused.

Registration is required:



Annual Conference 2021

A Community of Love & Forgiveness

Click HERE for the Lay Member Update.
Click HERE for the 2021 Annual Conference Videos.
Click HERE for Pre-Conference Workshop Videos.
Click HERE for details on the Bishop's Offering.


2021 Charge/Church Conferences

As every year, the 2021 Charge/Church conference forms are available on the Florida Conference website. They will be available online on Monday, August 23. These forms are to be completed annually by each local church in accordance with the District Superintendent’s annual charge conference instructions. Click here to link to Charge Conference Forms instructions.

***We have sent a proposed schedule of cluster charge conference dates to your pastor and Lay Leader for review.


New Church Dashboard


The Florida Conference has migrated it's database from the EZRA system to a new database.  As a result of this migration, there is a new church dashboard.

The Church Dashboard Tutorial page has new videos and guide sheets showing how to access and use the new church dashboard. You may access the tutorial page here and also via link at the bottom of the conference website home page. Just click the link for Dashboard Tutorials.

When you first access the new church dashboard, please review and update the church contact information for the church email and phone number.  Please review and correct the additional contact information including worship times, driving directions and website.

While every effort has been made to insure that the church leadership positions and contact information migrated successfully, it is possible that some information may be missing or incorrect.  Please review and update the church leadership and their contact information. Please only add the chair of church committees and not the entire committee.

To access the new church dashboard, go the home page of The Florida Conference website and click the Church Dashboard link in the black navigation bar at the top of the page. The Username and Password is the church GCFA number.

Please view the videos and use the guidelines found on the Dashboard Tutorial Page before accessing the new church dashboard.  If you have questions or need additional guidance please contact your district office.


Ministry Protection
Reports due August 16-31

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 16-31, 2021. 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 16-31 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.)


 Workshop for Hispanic/Latino - This workshop will be in Spanish only


Presente & Futuro, el seminario integral de planificación financiera, de un día, para el pastorado hispano y sus cónyuges, se estará celebrando el 11 de septiembre, de 9 a.m.-3 p.m., en Florida United Methodist Conference Center en Lakeland (450 Martin L. King Jr. Ave., Lakeland, FL 33815).
Este seminario ofrece completo de información crítica que ayudará al pastor/a desarrollar un plan financiero sólido que le permitirá tomar decisiones saludables no solamente ahora sino también en el futuro. Los temas incluyen impuestos (taxes) para el pastor/a, plan de pensión y beneficios, estructura de planificación financiera y planificación de patrimonio o testamentaria.
Manuel Vargas, educador de beneficios de Wespath Beneficios e Inversiones, proveerá información que ayudará a los participantes a lograr un mejor entendimiento de su plan de pensiones y sus beneficios, y de esta manera anticipar su ingreso al momento del retiro. El Rev. John Peterson CFP®, ChFC®, CASL®, vicepresidente de mayordomía y educación de la fundación, ayudará a los participantes a enfocarse en fortalecer su planificación financiera. Especialistas en impuestos y planificación testamentaria completarán la agenda del día. Los participantes también tendrán la oportunidad de reunirse individualmente con Vargas o Peterson por orden de llegada.
El objetivo de este seminario es ayudar al pastorado para que tenga los fondos que necesita ahora y en el futuro, para la educación universitaria de sus hijos/as, el seguro médico, ahorros para el tiempo de retiro, vivienda para cuando ya no estén trabajando, emergencias y más.
“Tomar este seminario de asesoramiento financiero podría ser una de las cosas más importantes que hagas por ti y por tu familia,” nos dice la Rev. Sandra Santiago, quien es la consultora regional en mayordomía de la fundación para los distritos Atlántico Central, Sur Este y Sur Oeste de la Conferencia de la Florida. “Este seminario podría ayudarte a ahorrar dinero, hacer dinero, proteger tus finanzas y, lo más importante, prepararte lo mejor posible para lo que la vida te pueda deparar.”
La matrícula estará abierta hasta el 27 de Agosto, y exhortamos a los/as cónyuges a participar. El costo es de $35 por pastor/a que asista solo o acompañado de su cónyuge, e incluye comidas y materiales.
El pastorado puede matricularse en-línea o descargar la hoja de matrícula y enviarla a las oficinas de la fundación, a la atención de Nadara Bledsoe. Información adicional está disponible en Presente & Futuro Seminario, o comunicándose con Bledsoe al 866-363-9673, extensión 7113, o

The Florida United Methodist Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 3549 Lakeland, FL 33802-3549 


Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting

The Florida Conference is using a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report MVS.


Training Opportunity

Some of these classes may be helpful-and they are FREE

All the ministry training for your entire staff for free.

Don't miss this incredible training event that is 100% free.

AUGUST 11-12, 2021

There is just a little over a week to register for our FREE virtual training conference. You will not want to miss this opportunity. This conference has been created for you and the entire staff of your church. We have developed two full days of exceptional training on your products, plus bonus education that will grow your ministry. 

Don't miss this incredible training event that is 100% free.


All the ministry training for your entire staff for free.


2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

The conference and district offices will be closed the following days:

September 6

Labor Day holiday

November 11

Veteran's Day holiday

November 25-26

Thanksgiving holiday

December 24

Christmas holiday

December 27

Christmas holiday

December 31

New Year's Day Observed holiday