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SED June 2020 Newsletter


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


Welcome to our Clergy with new appointments July 1, 2020!

We are grateful for the clergy who will be transitioning to retirement or to other appointments this year. Thank you to Barbara Ammann, Wayne Finn, Rachel DeLaune, Ryan DeLaune, Ben Stilwell-Hernandez, Larry White, Michelle Shrader, and Simon Osunlana for serving among us. We wish you all the best in your new endeavors!

We welcome these new clergy to the South East District:

Epworth, Hollywood - Andrea Byer-Thomas

First, Boca Raton associate - Madeline Baum

First, Homestead - Ivan Corbin

Kerr Memorial – Wilfrede Toussaint

Killian Pines, Miami - Wilma Reyes

St. John, Ft. Lauderdale - Pierre Exantus

United Wesley Foundation of Miami - Jess Williams

Trinity and Village UMCs – Elyse Milligan


The Conference resource page for COVID-19 is jammed packed with information. The link to the page is at the very top of 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.



Dear Sisters and Brothers in the SE District:

This year, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) provided a prognostic of a very active hurricane season in the Atlantic. As we know this is the time to be prepared for the season and check our emergency plans in our homes and houses of worships. Due to the COVID19 emergency shelters will be very well regulated and spaces will be more limited than before. We need to buy our emergency supplies and check church property and correct any discrepancy found. Below is a link from Department of Homeland Security that covers emergency plans, tip sheets, etc. Please discussed with your family and congregants as well. (if you have any issue opening this link, please copy and paste it in your browser)

If you have any question please do not hesitate in contacting me or Pam Garrison (  at the Conference. 


Rev. Cesar J. Villafaña, OSL

SE/Miami Disaster Coordinator



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  

Videos should be 4 minutes or less. You can share your video with us here:

You can also share your photos on our Photos from around the conference page
Use the form here to submit your photos



To Register for this Webinar 


ANNUAL CONFERENCE - September 2020

 for the AC2020 webpage.

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



Saturday, August 22

Hosted by New Horizon UMC

This event benefits the Foster Care Program of the FL UM Children's Home in South Florida.

They need golfers to play in the tournament and luncheon attendees who don't golf. Also, there is a fabulous silent auction that goes live 10 days before the August 22 event.

Please see attached the PDF version of their brochure. You can register now by going to this link:

If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Pannier at



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.




June 6 - Clergy Session - Virtual Meeting

A virtual clergy session will be on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00am. All clergy are expected to attend. Voting on clergy matters is reserved for elders and deacons in full connection. Other clergy can attend but not vote. This is a closed meeting limited to clergy. Bishop Carter sent an email to all clergy in The Florida Annual Conference on Wednesday, May 13 with the registration link. To participate in the virtual clergy session, you must register. If you cannot find the email, please contact your District AA.    

July 15 - test - all districts

This is a test. Will be removed shortly

August 18 - AC/EC/SE District Virtual Pre-Annual Conference Orientation

Virtual Pre-Annual Conference Orientation sessions will be held as follows to help prepare attendees for this year’s session: Atlantic Central + East Central + South East Districts: Tuesday, August 18, 7 pm Gulf Central + South West Districts: Thursday, August 20, 6 pm North Central + North East + North West: Monday, August 17, 6 pm Information about how to join the virtual orientations will be posted later.