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SED February 2021 Newsletter

February, 2021

Dear South East District Friends,

It is a joy to write to you in 2021. In the midst of challenges and ongoing struggles, we sense hope in the air and many reasons to celebrate life, love, and our faith. Thank you for your commitment to the Lord and your commitment to our ministry together through the United Methodist Church. It is a gift, isn’t it?

Now, you may think I am full of excitement because my football team is heading back to the Super Bowl again this year (Go Chiefs!). However, I want to assure you that I am equally delighted to see a Florida team in the big game and will be rooting for a great game between two excellent teams.

My prayer for us this year is the following – that we take each day as a gift, receive it as such, and then pray for how God will use our days to be a gift to others and to the world.

Often, when things are going well in my life, I get complacent and think God is gifting me with these moments of well-being in order for me to enjoy them. I do not believe this is true but I do often act like it is! What I believe to be true as that God gifts us each day and inspires in us ways to share that gift with others. Our faith, and the light of Christ, is not meant to be kept under a bushel. It is meant to be shared. The reality is, many of you know what it is like to share the gift of life even when life is treating your very badly, and the future is bleak. The Lord inspires us, no matter our circumstances, to live in God’s peace and to share this peace with others.

In recent months, I found myself not feeling as strong and focused and “well” as I would normally like. It was hard for me to wake up feeling like God was gifting me with a new day and it was equally hard for me to be inspiring and uplifting to others. Several people came alongside me. I felt their presence (even in a pandemic). They called me. They asked if they could help. They gave me pep talks. My daughter, as well, rallied to provide me with much needed distractions for my weariness.

Then the burdens began to lift. Trust me, they were not burdens of great magnitude. Some did not change much at all in reality, but my mind and heart and inner peace began to change. It made all the difference. And those who walked with me and willingly gave me their gifts (time, empathy, laughter, chocolate) were a huge part of my return to well-being.

I share this because it may help you in your current season, as individuals or members of a faith community. *If you woke up today full of joy for the day God has given to you, please pray for ways God will help you to share that gift with others. It is needed! *If you woke up today feeling burdened, know that God is with you, and that others are here to help carry you through this season. Reach out and share your burdens with others.

Friends, our greatest joy is sharing life together. God has given us to each other, all of creation, and it is a gift. Receive it, rejoice in it, and share it. I will close with this quote from the Inauguration and the inspiring young poet we all met that day:

For there is always light,                                                                                                                                                                                                              if only we're brave enough to see it,                                                                                                                                                                                          if only we're brave enough to be it.                                                                                                                                                                

                                              - Amanda Gorman      

Grace and peace,

Cynthia D. Weems


District Training Event, 2021

Due to the pandemic, our training event this year will be done differently and virtually. Plans are being put into place now and more information will be forthcoming.


 District Clergy Meeting 

 Wednesday, February 24, 2021

 Time: 10:00-12:30 p.m.

 Place: Virtual -ZOOM link will be forthcoming

With a special presentation from Subsplash, the UMC approved platform for online engagement.


Worship Deep Dive (Virtual) in February

February 19th, 10AM - 12:30PM OR February 25th, 6:30PM - 9PM (Same event, offered with options for daytime or evening)

Jason Moore will conduct a Worship Deep Dive (Virtual) in February. It is about maximizing the in-person and virtual experiences. Most everyone had to do some kind of virtual presence since March. Then, some are back in person. However, they don’t want to lose the virtual people that connected during that time. If you feel you could benefit from this, Jason will be sharing a lot in the webinar. So, do not miss it!

For more information, please read below:

Worship Deep Dive - Both/And, Maximizing Hybrid Worship For Online and In-Person Experiences

For: Worship Leaders and Clergy of small and medium-sized churches (all are welcome)

About: This 2.5-hour workshop will delve into strategies for creating powerful transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought. 

Cost: $10. per person

Here is a video promo:


It will explore:

  • Re-imagining worship for Both/And
  • How to create interactive Both/And experiences
  • Bringing at-home and in-person audiences together in real time
  • Alternative opportunities for online viewers watching in-person livestreams
  • Repurposing in-person worship for online viewers
  • Strategies for adapting practices for Both/And
  • Avoiding letting your groove becoming a rut
  • And the last 15 minutes for Q & A


Calendar of Reports due for February and March 

Statistics due February 5

Please visit the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin preparations for reporting your church's end of year statistics.  You will find everything you need for reporting: 

Instruction Guides:

  • Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting (Login Instructions & Password, Payroll Protection Program (PPP) reporting)
  • Church Table Directions (help text)
  • New Church Development and Year End Statistical Reporting
  • Step by Step Overview of the Year-End Reporting Process

The deadline for submitting Year End Statistical Tables is February 5, 2021.

The information you share gives the GCFA and the conference an opportunity to see how the churches have prospered in the last year. For more information go to the Year-End Statistics Instructions website!

February 22

Workers Compensation Payroll Audit is to be completed online annually.  Report actual payroll for calendar year 2020.  Must be completed between February 1 and February 22, 2021. In order to comply with State of Florida requirements related to workers’ compensation coverage, we ask that you complete the brief online payroll survey.  Please review your payroll records (941’s etc.) for the calendar year 2020 and complete the form as accurately as possible.  Please note that your responses will not affect your workers’ compensation insurance costs for 2021 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.

March 31 

The following reports are due to the District office by March 31. Please email them to Norma Sayago You can also find these reports in the Conference Website under Calendar of Reports Due 2021.


Committee Responsible

Annual Review and Renewal Document


Document Retention Policy


Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policies


Clergy Employee Conduct Policy


Employee Conduct Policy


Annual Parsonage Report


Child Youth Protection Policy



The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. Do not send a hard copy to the District. This report is located in your church dashboard. Report available via the church dashboard login under Fund Balance. 


South East Milestone Anniversary Churches & Local Church Historian Contact Information

If your church is celebrating this year a milestone anniversary (25 yrs, 50 yrs, 75 yrs, etc) please contact the district office by email at or by phone: 305-445-9136 to let us know.

Also, the Commission on Archives and History met recently and one of their continued endeavors is to have a local church historian for each local church and their contact information. We need your help in getting this information! Please email it to our Conference Archivist, the Rev. Judith New at . Then, she will add it to their database.

Thank you so much in advance!


2021 W-4

The IRS changed the W-4 in 2020 and made another change for 2021. Existing employees do not need to complete a new form. If an employee wants to change their withholding elections or you hire a new employee, you must use the new form. Click HERE for the new W-4.


Clergy Care - Your New Magellan EAP is here!

Lois Durham, in our HR department, has worked hard to come up with the new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for all clergy of The Florida Conference. There are lots of benefits available at no cost to you. Please take a minute to download each of the items listed below, so you don't miss out!

  1. Welcome Email to Members
  2. EAP Flyer
  3. Work-Life Flyer
  4. Legal Financial Flyer
  5. Discount Center Flyer
  6. Clickotine App Flyer


Festival of HOMILETICS
"Preaching for the Future Church"
May 17-21, 2021 Virtually

The church is in decline. We need to adapt to survive.

Can the church recapture what it was in the first century -- a distinctive community willing to stand against the status quo, to confront the ways of empire, and to embody the gospel?

Together, we'll explore how the promise of the gospel gives hope and shapes ministry for the church now and in the future. 

There are two ways to participate:

  1. Watch for free: Four to five prerecorded video sessions will be available each day-no cost required.
  2. Purchase a recording package: Gain full access to bonus material and watch sessions at a later time. Bonus materials include additional speaker presentations, live workshops, learning opportunities, and exclusive vendor connections. Receive CEU credit.

Click HERE to register.


United Methodist Connectional FCU prepares for the second round of the PPP

1/12/2021 - UMC FCU is continuing to prepare to help United Methodist Churches in the administration of the Paycheck Protection Program. We are awaiting notice from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department for when we can begin processing applications. At that point, we will open an online portal for ease of process and communication. As you have questions, please contact Jonathan Curtis at

As we have been approached by several churches for this, here is some of the information that will need to be calculated and/or documented:

  • Average monthly payroll for 2020 or 2019. Your PPP funds will be this figure times 2.5
  • Gross revenue for 2019 and 2020. Churches requesting a second draw will need to show a 25% decrease in revenue in corresponding quarters over 2019 and 2020. For example, 1st quarter 2019 to 1st quarter 2020. It is also possible to show a 25% decrease in revenue for the whole year.
  • For churches getting a second draw, a record of payroll expenditures compared with the PPP funds received
  • Employee records, specifically number of employees

This may not be an exhaustive list, but may be useful in getting started. Further information can be found at, or by contacting Jonathan at United Methodist Connectional FCU.


Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting


While churches are not meeting in person due to COVID-19, The Florida Conference will use a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report MVS.

If you have data not entered for February or before, please complete the Monthly Data Gathering Chart for each of those months and email it to Norma Sayago at

General Conference 2020 - August 29-September 7, 2021

Should General Conference go virtual?

2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference - November 10-12, 2021


2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

February 15

President's Day holiday

April 2

Good Friday holiday

May 31

Memorial Day holiday

July 5

Independence Day holiday

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