Dear South East District Friends,
Greetings to each of you as Advent begins!
I wonder if you are feeling the way I am, asking yourselves, “How did we arrive in December so quickly?” I feel as if 2019 has passed like a whirlwind and quickly we are approaching the beginning of a new calendar year, ready or not.
As I look back on this year I remember many wonderful moments in the life of our district, our churches, and in my home. I am grateful for our first annual district youth event held in February. I am grateful for the outpouring of support for Bahamian hurricane relief this fall. I am grateful for the enthusiasm around Fresh Expressions of church in the district, particularly Dinner Churches that launched this fall.
Yet I am also aware of the strains and stress of the year 2019. We acknowledge the stress surrounding our denominational struggles that will bleed into the 2020 General Conference. We know of individual churches that are experiencing the hardship of disagreement, financial strain, and anxiety over property matters. I have also encountered the ways that unhealthy people do harm to our churches and ministries when they act in unkind and mean-spirited ways. We have grieved losses together this year and we remember those losses during the upcoming Advent and Christmas season.
I know that my spirit is heavy with the strain of the year that is concluding. It is heavy for all of you who are experiencing it more closely than I am in your churches and communities. We carry it together as a denomination seeking a faithful future. My hope is for a word this season that will guide us during tumult and strain, hardship and distress. Jesus was born into a world of tumult and hardship both in his family and in the larger world. He came so that we might have an eternal light in the midst of our present darkness.
Let me conclude with this quote from British theologian N.T. Wright, “Christmas is God lighting a candle; and you don't light a candle in a room that's already full of sunlight. You light a candle in a room that's so murky that the candle, when lit, reveals just how bad things really are.” (N.T. Wright, For All God's Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church) The light of Christ is particularly welcome in a year when pain and distress is near. May we rejoice in Christ’s light and bear it in every place we go.
Blessed Advent to you, my friends.
Cynthia D. Weems
The District is delighted to share with you that the offering for our sister district in Pinar del Rio, Cuba collected at our four Cluster Charge Conferences was very generous. We collected over $4,200 total. The Rev. W. Yordani Jimenez, their District Superintendent, asked us to convey their immense gratitude. Thank you!
Join the South East District for our 2020 Training event. This is a training opportunity for all clergy and lay leadership in the SE District. (Be sure your new 2020 leaders are updated in your church dashboard in order for them to receive an invitation to this event.)
8:15 – 8:45 am Registration
8:45 – 10:00 am Opening Worship and Keynote by the Rev. Magrey deVega, Hyde Park UMC, Tampa, Florida
10:15 – 1:00 am Break-Out Sessions and lunch
Registration will open in mid-December. Stay tuned!
Online Deep Dives are focused sharing on one topic to allow participation during lunch (if watching live) or replay later (about 30 minutes and no more than 1 hour).
A topic expert hosts giving tips, ideas, and what to avoid. Topics will vary from Children's Ministries, School Church. Coming Soon: Finance and HR for the local church with more in the works!
Also available: Online recorded trainings for each of the Leadership Roles in the local church. You can watch at your convenience with the availability to fast forward! https://www.flumc.org/webinarresources
The Church and Clergy Profile portals are now open for updates. The deadline for completing updates is Saturday, February 1, 2020. For details and instructions, please visit the conference website: https://www.flumc.org/profilesinstructions
It is the responsibility of the SPRC to complete the Church Profile, and the Pastor to complete the Pastor Profile. If you have any questions, please contact the SE District office.
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