Dear South East District Friends,
What a painful time to be writing to you. It is a time that requires being together in song, sharing, prayer, and the collective experience of grief and pain that comes when we realize one part of our body is broken. The events of the last week that continue to unfold are ones that hit our South Florida community very hard. Our community is full of color, my friends. As I said once years ago at First Church in downtown Miami when someone asked me to fill out paperwork on the ethnicities of our young people, “All of our children are brown, including my own.” South Florida is a community of color and with that comes the pain of years of injustice, neglect, and fear. We cannot be physically together at this time due to the continued concerns over the pandemic. Yet, we are together through the Holy Spirit and I do trust in this powerful way to learn, love, and share in this struggle.
I am hesitant to write this article. I am white and I do not know the pain and fear of my sisters and brothers of color. I seek to hear you and understand better. I grew up in Mississippi with parents who sought to model a different kind of life with our black neighbors. I later lived in South America where I learned of the struggles of our global hermanos/as who often make their way to this country and live in great hardship. As much as I wanted to live like my colleagues and new friends there, I knew that my blue eyes and U.S. passport created an escape hatch for me that others did not have.
We learn from scripture that when one part of the body is broken or hurting, the rest of the body hurts. We know this to be true as humans and as Christians. Susanna Wesley had 19 children, only ten of which lived past infancy. She was once asked which child was her favorite. She replied, “The one who is sick.”
Friends, we are well aware that a part of our body is hurting and, in many cases, another part of that same body is exacerbating the illness. We are interconnected and woven together. This means that we must listen to our body, hear its cries, and make adjustments in order for it to flourish, grow, and thrive. Indeed, one part of our body needs to drastically change the way in which it lives in this world in order to allow the other parts of the body to flourish. In order to change, we must listen with humility and we must “change ourselves before demanding change from others” (as my fourteen year old proclaimed this weekend). I am coming to terms with this myself and praying over ways God is calling me to change.
I want us to be a church that allows God’s children to thrive. How can we do this better? How can I do better in my leadership and how can we do better as a connectional system of churches that seeks to follow Jesus and share the gospel with all people? Please share with me your thoughts, your struggles, your anger, and the ways you believe we can work together to heal the broken places in our body.
In Christ’s never-ending love,
Cynthia D. Weems
The Conference resource page for COVID-19 is jammed packed with information. The link to the page is at the very top of flumc.org https://www.flumc.org/covid-19-virus-update. Please see below some of the good information you can find there.
The Florida Conference Re-Launch Task Force along with Bishop Carter and the Cabinet met last week and decided to allow churches to consider resuming in-person worship after June 15th on a limited basis according to the following guidelines. Before proceeding, we ask that you be sure to have read carefully and completely our FLUMC guidelines, the CDC guidelines, the article “Why reopening church is different”, the FAQ document, and the Governor’s Plan for Florida’s Recovery.
Preaching Virtually, Not Virtually Preaching
The IOP offered a webinar on May 1, 2020 entitled "Preaching Virtually, Not Virtually Preaching" to assist clergy during this time of social distancing. The webinar offers both general guidance and practical tips. View the webinar and PowerPoint...
If you have any additional questions please call or email our district office. If you would like to stay informed of current events please see the Covid-19 web page on our website. Please remember to follow the CDC safety guidelines and stay healthy.
SHARE WHAT YOUR MINISTRY IS DOING WITH THE CONFERENCE
If you have short videos showing your ministry in action, youth activities, feeding the hungry, children’s ministry, etc., you can share them with the conference in our Now Playing feature on the home page at https://www.flumc.org.
Videos should be 4 minutes or less. You can share your video with us here: https://www.flumc.org/submitvideo.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE - September 2020
We invite all lay and clergy members of the annual conference to plan to attend this one day event. We understand that some may not feel comfortable gathering in large settings at that time. The details, including the location for our September event, are being finalized.
Rather than have a virtual meeting in June we will have a one day Annual Conference event on Saturday, September 19th. Location to be determined. We will still have a virtual clergy session on June 6 as those votes are required earlier. Our gathering on Saturday, September 19th will recognize our retiring clergy, share in our memorial service, and celebrate commissioning and ordinations. Please mark your calendars now for this significant event.
Virtual Pre-Annual Conference Orientation for the South East District: Tuesday, August 18, 7 pm
SOUTH EAST DISTRICT CHURCH ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF TRAINING
The South East District is excited to provide administrative training every year. The event is free but you must register online to let us know if you will be attending. Lunch will be provided at the event.
When? Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Time? 10:00am – 1:30pm (Gathering for coffee and snacks starting at 9:30 am)
Where? First UMC of Coral Gables (Head Center)
Please join us to share, learn, and fellowship with others. This year we have invited the Rev. Judith M New. She is the Archivist for the Florida United Methodist Heritage Center, and she will go over the Conference guidelines for filing, what to do prior the closing of a church, and other topics of interests.