Dear South East District Friends,
In July I finally had the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Jamaica. Many of you in the SE District will tell me I finally made it to God’s country! After fifteen years of living in Broward and Dade counties and being influenced and shaped by faithful Jamaican-American sisters and brothers in our congregations, I finally saw (and tasted!) it for myself. It was truly a gift to experience the beauty and blessing of such a beloved country to so many of my dear friends and colleagues in ministry.
Mariana and I joined a mission team of teenagers and parents from Kendall UMC that traveled to Port Antonio, Jamaica to lead a Vacation Bible School with the Methodist church there, something KUMC has been doing for over a decade. She helped with crafts and I was a group leader for the 6-7 year-olds. Yes, you read that right! I learned again on this trip how important it is to spend time doing something outside of your comfort zone at least once a year!
Mission experiences are so important and this experience, in this season of my ministry, led me to reflect on a few things that I wanted to share with you about how our life and the life of our sister churches in the Caribbean share some similarities.
- Everyone is struggling with what “church” will be like with a post-pandemic mindsight. A small community in Jamaica and our urban neighborhoods are all seeking to learn what is next and what will keep our churches relevant to the people who need us most.
- The end of our week was spent doing several hours of community clean-up near the beach and on the roads. They, like we, seek to find ways to care for the environment around us in order to ensure a safe and healthy future for our communities.
- The children who attended the VBS were hungry. We fed them and they remained hungry. Children in our communities are hungry too. What are our churches doing to alleviate food insecurity and hunger in our city? If you want to brainstorm ideas, here are just a few of the churches doing significant ministry with food: Miramar, Nourishing Lives based at New Horizon, Cornerstone, Burton Memorial.
- There is natural beauty around every turn in Port Antonio. My goodness the beauty! Being “away” for a week allowed me to enjoy it, pray over it, swim in its waters and even jump off of its waterfalls. There is also natural beauty here where we live. I often do not take the time to embrace it and enjoy it and am determined to do better about that in days to come.
I want to thank our Caribbean brothers and sisters who have made such a significant contribution to the United Methodist witness in South Florida. Without you our churches would be far less vital than they are today. You have greatly impacted my life and ministry and I am forever grateful.
Blessings to each of you in these last days of summer,
Cynthia D. Weems
A Big Thank you!
A big thank you to these churches who had representatives at the all-day retreat sponsored by the Academy of Spiritual Formation on Saturday, July 30 at Christ Church United Methodist: First Coral Springs, Merrell, Cokesbury, First Coral Gables, Ebenezer, Miramar, Christ Church, First Boca Raton. The name of the retreat was “Confronting Whiteness in Worship and Community” and was part of our anti-racism efforts in the South East District. It was a powerful day of learning and sharing.
Ministry Protection Reports
due August 15-31
Annual Ministry Protection Property and Casualty Insurance Review (Annual Survey) is this month. Your Trustees are to review insurance coverage and update the online insurance database annually. The annual review period is August 15-31, 2022. 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.
Be sure to include in your insurance survey any drivers who ever drive for church events or activities. This includes staff who drive to the store or post office, volunteers who pick up food for an outreach ministry and the pastor who drives to visit parishioners. All should be included as drivers on your policy.
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 2022 when completing this section.
Click here between August 15-31 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.)
Nominations/Lay Leadership Training
Pastors and lay members of the nominations/lay leadership team, please plan to attend one of the following trainings later this month:
Tuesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, August 29, 6:30 p.m.
This training is sponsored by our District Anti-Racism team as a way to dive more deeply into the work of developing leaders and honoring the gifts of the diverse population that makes up our South Florida community. It will include information about how to create more diverse teams, how to do the work of lay leadership development year-round and how to identify challenges to this work within the structure of your church. DS Cynthia Weems will give leadership to this event along with our district anti-racism team: Judith Pierre-Okerson, Susan Spragg, Madeline Baum and Nathan Adams.
2022 Charge/Church Conferences
The 2022 Charge/Church conference forms are already available on the Florida Conference website. It is never too early to begin to work on these. Please go to this link: Annual Charge Conference Forms. These forms are to be completed annually by each local church in accordance with the District Superintendent’s annual charge conference directions. We are currently working on the charge/church conference schedule for this year. They will run from October 2-November 13 and the district office will send specifics shortly.
- The following reports are to be emailed to Norma Sayago at least one week prior to your CC: SED Voting Matters Agenda, 2023 Clergy Compensation form(s), Housing Resolution(s), and Accountable Reimbursement Policy (ies). Signatures are not required at this time. Here is the link for Norma's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Deacons beyond the local church and Extension Minister's Annual Reports are not part of Charge Conference forms. Their Annual Reports are due December 31 of each year. Click HERE for the Office of Clergy Excellence page with those details.
- Clergy who do have reports due to be turned into their Charge Conference for the Fall Annual Charge Conference are:
Report of the Retired Clergy; Report of Clergy on Honorable Location; Report of Clergy on Voluntary Leave of Absence
Annual Conference 2022
Rebuilding the Church
Re-membering the Body
Click HERE for the AC2022 Summary Report
Click HERE for the 2022 Annual Conference Videos.
Click HERE for details on the Bishop's Offering.
Mark your calendars now for Annual Conference 2023 & 2024
All appointed clergy are required to attend.
UMC Bishops agree to call regular sessions of jurisdictional conferences in 2022
In response to Judicial Council decision 1445, the Council of Bishops (COB) has formally set the dates for regular sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened November 2-5, 2022. Click HERE to read the article.
2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be November 2-4, 2022. Details will be posted HERE in August.
Florida Conference Guidance Re: BSA Facility Use Agreement UPDATE
On June 23, 2022 we sent you an email letting you know that the expiration of the current BSA charter agreements has been extended to October 31, 2022. In that email, we also recommended that churches in the Florida Conference not use the New Affiliation Agreement that was agreed to by the Boy Scouts and the General Commission on United Methodist Men Center for Scouting Ministries but instead use a Facilities Use Agreement.
In that email, we indicated that a new Facilities Use Agreement developed by the Boy Scouts and the General Commission on United Methodist Men Center for Scouting Ministries would soon be made available. Late last week we received the new Facilities Use Agreement which we are recommending churches which wish to host a Scouting unit enter into instead of the Affiliation Agreement. A copy of the new Facilities Use Agreement is attached to this email.
The following are key points to remember now that the new Facilities Use Agreement has been released:
- Local churches, the Scout Units with which they are associated, and the corresponding BSA Local Councils have until October 31, 2022, to execute and implement their new Facilities Use Agreement.
- All current charters and facilities use agreements are to continue until the Boy Scouts complete the new agreement with the congregation and its scouting unit.
- Congregations may use the new Facilities Use Agreement as a stand-alone document. The new insurance and indemnity provisions the Boy Scouts have agreed to provide, which went into effect on June 30, 2022, are included in the facilities use agreement.
If you have any questions related to the use of the new Facilities Use Agreement or your future relationship with the Boy Scout Unit your church hosts, please contact Mark Hanley, the Conference Chancellor at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attachment: 2022.07.06 FUA Final
Grace & Peace,
Craig A. Smelser
Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services
Join us for a monthly half-hour conversation with various speakers and share your thoughts about anti-racism efforts in our Conference. Hosted by The Beloved Community.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Webinar Schedule (All sessions begin at 12 noon)
- August 3: The History of Race in Florida I
- September 7: The History of Race in Florida II
- October 5: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries I
- November 2: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries II
- December 7: Celebrating Anti-Racism Ministries in the Florida Conference
IRS increases mileage rate for remainder of 2022
IR-2022-124, June 9, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final 6 months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes.
For the final 6 months of 2022, the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of the year. The new rate for deductible medical or moving expenses (available for active-duty members of the military) will be 22 cents for the remainder of 2022, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of 2022. These new rates become effective July 1, 2022. The IRS provided legal guidance on the new rates in Announcement 2022-13PDF, issued today. Click HERE to continue reading.
Workshop for Hispanic/Latino pastors and spouses -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 10 de septiembre, de 9 a.m.-3:45 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. La Rev. Sandra Santiago, directora de relaciones comunitarias y consultora regional en mayordomía 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 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,” Santiago nos dice. “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 26 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 email@example.com.
From Brian Carr, Director of Church Relations
I have just retired as a pastor in the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church after serving for 24 years. I was blessed to serve appointments at Asbury UMC in Maitland, the Lighthouse in Coconut Grove, Perrine Peters UMC in Miami, Trinity UMC in DeLand, and FUMC in Port St. Lucie
I was hired as the Director of Church Relations with the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in July. I am excited for this new role and opportunity.
I want to inform you that I am ready and willing to come to your district and share about the Children’s Home. I can fill the pulpit and preach, as well as make spot announcements during worship and meet with Sunday School Classes, Mission Committees, Small Groups, etc. I am also available to share at district trainings or other district meetings.
Please feel free to contact me if you need me at any time or have any questions.
Rev. Brian Carr Director of Church Relations Florida United Methodist Children’s Home firstname.lastname@example.org 386 – 561 - 3152
Technology Grant for Rural and Small Membership Churches
We know that the pandemic increased the need for technology so churches could offer hybrid ministry both in person and on-line. Our smaller, rural churches are in need of support to meet these technology needs. These grants will go to churches who have proven the ability to have faithful hybrid ministry. This grant is available to churches with average worship attendance under 100 and/or those located in rural areas. Click the link below for the application.
The time to create a Disaster Recovery plan is BEFORE the disaster hits. Are you ready?
Each church should develop or review the disaster plan for your local church and put together a team who can react. The plan is not only for hurricanes. There are many types of disasters that can cause major damage. i.e., fires, tornadoes, etc.
Click HERE for a blank Church Disaster Plan for your use. Click HERE for The Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry website. Questions? Email Trish Warren, Disaster Response Coordinator.
Thank you for taking the time to update your MVS reporters in the church dashboard. We had many new MVS reporter emails added which is helpful in keeping you all up-to-date with communications of any changes.
The new MVS site is now live (click here). You are NOW able to submit your data through the church dashboard. There is the option of reporting weekly or monthly. Also, you have the ability to input missing data from the last two years without having to go through the district office.
If your church receives funding (equitable compensation) that is contingent on turning in your data by the 10th of the month, know that you have grace. We sent an email with that explanation to those churches.
Please notice the changes. There are fewer data points requested and some of the definitions have been expanded. This would be helpful to share with your leadership. Your church should continue to gather whatever is expected for the Year End Report as well as other important data for your church.
Please click here for a helpful video overview and guide sheet of the New MVS Weekly Reporting site.
Explanation of MVS’s
MVS data gathering sheet (PDF)
MVS Weekly Reporting Video
MVS Weekly Reporting Guide Sheet (PDF)
(Steve Loher and Janet Earls)
2022 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference
The conference and district offices will be closed the following days:
Day After Thanksgiving
December 24 (Observed December 23)
December 25 (Observed December 26)