Dear South East District Friends,
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus our Lord!
I write to you just days before leaving for St. Simon’s Island, Georgia and Epworth by the Sea, a beautiful retreat center on the grounds where John and Charles Wesley first made their marks in America. By the time you read this our event will be over and I’ll be on my way back home (thankfully, it looks to be quite cold up there!).
The event is a “Winter Conference” where the keynote speaker is The Rev. Tod Bolsinger. He is the author of Canoeing the Mountains, a book that has made a tremendous impact (earthquake, shall we say?) on the church in the last couple of years. I have recommended it to many of you and do believe all lay and clergy leaders in the church can benefit from its teachings. In a nutshell, Bolsinger relates the current experience of being a leader in the church to the famous explorers Lewis and Clark when they arrived at what they thought was the water route connecting the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and actually found a chain of mountains to be called the Rockies. They had been canoeing their way to what they hoped would be the Northwest Passage, anticipating an ocean. Instead, they found enormous snow-capped peaks. They had to trade their canoes for horses and they had to leave their trusted maps behind in order to go “off the map” and chart a new course.
Bolsinger believes the religious landscape in North America is like this right now in contemporary life. We are using canoes and old maps to try and navigate through unknown mountains. Does this sound familiar? It sure feels like my life from day to day and I sense it feels the same for you. We are in uncharted territory, my friends.
At the heart of Bolsinger’s work is the need to be adaptive leaders. This is what we will be learning about this week at Epworth by the Sea. Adapting our leadership, our churches, our current ways of operating into the next natural adaptation will be the key to our churches’ futures in this district, conference and throughout our country. Some of you already see this at work when you say to yourself, “We have never done this before!” (That is good, it means your church is adapting to something new….trading canoes for horses.) We will continue to share ideas for how to adapt to new challenges and opportunities together. I am grateful that there are many explorers on this journey – all of us together, praying and learning and diving into what lies ahead.
I hope you will begin this new year at our District Training Event on February 9. The details and registration are below. I believe this will be the best training event yet! It is a great opportunity to begin to put into practice a desire to learn and grow as church leaders. Additionally, encourage those who work with your youth to attend our District-wide Youth Event in the evening of February 9. Details for that are also below. I am so excited for both of these events!
Grace and peace to you, my sisters and brothers. May God continue to guide our journeys.
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Scott Smith, First UMC Ormond Beach
Worship Leader: Jeremy Hearn & band, First UMC Lakeland
We would love to know you are planning to attend with your youth. Register your intention HERE
Christ Church UM in Fort Lauderdale is looking for great Camp Counselors. If you are interested please apply here: https://www.christchurchfl.org/connect/crosswalk-children-s-test/child-care-and-camps/counselor-application
Cornerstone Church UMC has an immediate opening for a Preschool Director. For details or inquiries, please visit http://www.cornerstonemiami.org/employment/ or contact Rev. Paul Cook (305-235-6651, x. 102; firstname.lastname@example.org).
February 8, 2019: Year End Statistics – (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3) Complete online annually. Must be completed by 5:00 pm Friday, February 8. Click Here for instructions page.
February 22: Workers Compensation Payroll Audit is to be completed online annually. Report actual payroll for calendar year 2018. Must be completed between February 1 and February 22, 2019. In order to comply with State of Florida requirements related to workers’ compensation coverage, we ask that you complete the brief online payroll form. Please review your payroll records (941’s etc.) for the calendar year 2018 and complete the form as accurately as possible. Please note that your responses will not affect your workers’ compensation insurance costs for 2019 as this updated information is simply required to comply with State of Florida regulations.
February 28: Ensure Lay Member to Annual Conference name and contact information is correct in church dashboard.
Child/Youth Protection Policy. As a reminder to the email that went out November 20, 2018, the conference has updated the Child/Youth Protection Policy (CYPP). Click HERE to view that email. Local churches and conference-affiliated ministries are asked to review and update policies using this template by April 30. Please submit a complete copy of the policy AND the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page to Norma Sayago email@example.com by April 30.
Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policy. Financial Controls, Policies, and Procedures - Review & renew annually. Once in compliance, submit a signed copy of the one page Annual Review and Renewal Document to the district office by March 31. Click here for Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policies in Local Churches.
Employee Conduct Policy Adoption. FL Conference Revised Local Church Policy last revised April 2015. Review and renew annually.
Annual Report to the District Housing Committee / Parsonage Checklist. Review & renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the Annual Parsonage Review to the district office by March 31.
Fund Balance Report for the Year End 2018. This report is located in your church dashboard. Report available via the church dashboard login under Fund Balance.
Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).
As you make your plans, please be aware of the following:
All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions. Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.
The Florida minimum wage is increasing to $8.46 per hour, effective January 1, 2019. Please Click HERE for the minimum wage poster for 2019. This needs to be posted for all employees to see.
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