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SED February 2022 Newsletter

February, 2022

Dear South East District Friends,

Recently I celebrated a “milestone” birthday and chose to spend it riding roller coasters with my teenager and friends at Busch Gardens in Tampa. It seemed fitting to do something very “young” as I was beginning a new decade of life.

Roller coasters are fascinating. I am somewhat surprised that I enjoy them as much as I do. They seem unnecessarily dangerous and typically I stay away from danger. They cause me to scream and I normally try not to scream. They make my heart pound and my stomach turn and, of course, I try to steer clear of things that make me feel that way. What is it about roller coasters that I enjoy?

I have no idea.

However, I ride them and go back over and over again, feeling happy and renewed and windblown after each one.

Being a preacher, I can’t resist the symbolism in all of this. Though many people do not choose to ride roller coasters, we all know that life is full of them. Typically, we do not choose them. We simply find ourselves riding along one day (coasting, shall we say?) and all of a sudden the coasting becomes a large mountain to climb or a very swift fall to endure. Then there is a twist and a turn and a scream and the need to grab the hand of the person sitting next to you.

Does this sound familiar? Have you ridden a roller coaster in your life lately?

It won’t be hard for you to understand that I prefer real roller coasters to those in my everyday life. The real roller coasters come to a quick end! The ones in life often go on and on, seeming interminable, and we never know if another mountain is upon us or if this particular ride (challenge, obstacle, dilemma) is about to end.

This is where our faith in Jesus is such a gift to you and to me. What helps us with our pounding heart and turning stomach and anxiety when we encounter life’s roller coasters? It is our faith in a Lord who knows us, knows our struggles and seeks to live in and through us as we encounter the challenges of this life. Every one of life’s obstacles does not leave us feeling “refreshed” the way I do when the roller coaster ride is over. That is the plain truth. They often leave us feeling beaten and worn down. However, I trust in a Savior, as you do, who came to live among creation in order to know our lives, experience our pain and joy, offer a new way to live and ultimately give us the gift of peace, hope and joy that can only come from our risen Lord.

Friends, if you find yourself on one of life’s roller coasters right now, reach out to someone near you and grab their hand tight! They will hear your scream and help to ease your pounding heart. Allow them to journey with you as a friend in faith, to remind you of the love of Jesus and the hope of our God during trying times.

Peace to each of you as we journey together, 

Cynthia D. Weems

South East District Apportionments

We are happy to report that because of your amazing faithfulness and giving we reached a district record of 93% of apportionments paid for 2021. Our district was #2 in the Conference (just shy of North Central). Forty-one churches paid 100% and ten churches paid significantly more than the year before. Thank you for your intentional generosity and leadership in challenging times!

Please see this video from Bishop Carter: Bishop Carter Apportionment Thank You on Vimeo



Join us for a monthly half-hour conversation with various speakers and share your thoughts about anti-racism efforts in our Conference. The first webinar is scheduled for February 2. Please CLICK HERE for more information.


2022 Conference Wide
Local Church Trainings! 

 The Florida Conference is offering Local Church Training via Zoom over six consecutive weeks! Each subject will have three opportunities for you to attend: Tuesdays 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM and Saturdays at 9:00 AM. The material will be the same for all three opportunities.

Please share these training dates with your ministry teams at your local church and ask them to save the date for the trainings that apply to their team. Everyone can register for the time that works best for them. Click here to Register for Local Church Training



Anti Racism Event 

With Gilbert King, Author of Devil in the Grove

Wednesday, February 16, at 7pm on Zoom

We are encouraging all to register for this great event. If you are able please read the book, and join the author on February 16, To register, please CLICK HERE.


Don't Wait, Get Your Federal Tax Exemption Letter!

Did you know that, as a United Methodist ministry, it is easy to get a letter proving your tax-exempt status – without applying directly to the Internal Revenue Service? The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), and sister agency to (GBHEM), United Methodist Women, and others, have received a “group ruling” designation from the IRS.

Don't wait. Recently the IRS issued notice that it may change the group ruling policy. While we don’t know when those changes may take place, it is quick and easy to get a letter of inclusion in the denominational group ruling currently, so act quickly, before any changes take place.

New Year, New Local Church Resources: Copyrights, Explained (



Calendar of Reports due for February and March

February 4

Year-end local church statistics (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3) close on Friday, February 4 at 5:00 pm. Complete online annually. This form will be available online via the Statistics link at your church dashboard login on the conference website beginning January 1, 2022.

Must be completed by February 4, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  


February 21

Workers Compensation Payroll Audit is to be completed online annually.  Report actual payroll for calendar year 2021.  Must be completed between February 1 and February 21, 2022. 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 2021 and complete the form as accurately as possible.  Please note that your responses will not affect your workers’ compensation insurance costs for 2022 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 


Committee Responsible

Financial Controls, Policies & Procedures


Document Retention Policy


Clergy Employee Conduct Policy


Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy


Annual Parsonage Report


Child Youth Protection Policy



The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and kept in their personnel file. This does not get sent to the District office.

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. Clergy Meeting
May 12 –9:30 am-1:00 pm

Hollywood Hills UMC, Hollywood

Save the date! We would gather about 9:30 for coffee fellowship. Meeting from 10-12 in the sanctuary so we have plenty of room. Conference 2022

– Get ready to see one another!

June 9-11

Florida Southern College


The Florida Annual Conference 2022 session will be back to an in-person event and will be held on June 9-11 (a general schedule will be released in the new year) on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The theme for Annual Conference 2022 will be: Rebuilding the Church, Re-membering the Body: Creating a Spiritual Home for All.

“We have been through an extraordinary season with many complexities and constraints, and all of this has kept us from the joy of coming together, and we likely have taken this gift for granted,” said Bishop Ken Carter. “I am excited about the 2022 Annual Conference, and I believe God will bless us during these days.”
Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur in June of next year. While we will still offer a livestream option for those not able to be present in Lakeland, voting on Conference matters will only be available to in-person lay and clergy members.
As we have for the past two years, your Annual Conference planning team will continue to follow state and local health guidelines, including those of Florida Southern College as our hosts. It is possible that mask-wearing and social distancing may still be recommended so please watch for more details as we draw closer to June.

For questions, please contact

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Florida Annual Conference Planning Team

Pastors: Please forward this to your lay member(s) to Annual Conference and be sure they are entered on the church dashboard!


Candidacy Retreats: July 8, 2022 - Deadline June 1, 2022

Please see the Candidacy Retreat Checklist to ensure all necessary items are completed. The checklist outlines all the steps needed for Candidacy.


South East District DCOM Meetings 2022

dCOM Chair: Rev. David Range
DS: Rev. Cynthia Weems
dCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn


Due Date


Tuesday, February 22

January 25

Local Pastor License Renewals

Tuesday, May 17

April 22

Provisional Interviews

Tuesday, September 13

August 16

Provisional Interviews follow-ups

Tuesday, October 25

September 27

Recerts/Local Pastors


Note: Certification and Local Pastor applicants may apply at any of the dates above

To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at

Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.