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SED September 2020 Newsletter

Dear South East District Friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who sustains us through the most difficult times and rejoices with us in our triumphs. Thanks be to God!

I have been sharing with many of you the title I have given these last few months of pandemic life, “Lots of Headaches, Few Rewards.” If we are honest with each other, much of what we have been doing in our personal lives, work lives, and church lives has been the typical stuff of “headaches” without any of the typical rewards to which we are accustomed. Can I get an “Amen?”

We, laity and clergy alike, log onto a virtual meeting where we have to go through the business agenda and make tough decisions but do not get the coffee and fellowship when it is all over. We preach sermons and craft worship to a video camera but do not get to see the smiling, joyful faces of those we serve with when we finish. We console grieving families over the phone or with appropriate distance at a funeral home but we do not get to experience the depth of grieving together as a community in a worship service that celebrates a person’s life. Plus, we have adopted the added stress of face masks, measuring distance, and overall anxiety about health and safety for ourselves and our loved ones. These are incredibly challenging times

I want you to know that my assessment is that you are doing this with remarkable grace, love, and talent. There is incredible ministry happening in the midst of this very trying time. You are caring for each other, leading your churches, making hard decisions, and sharing joy on every level. It has been an inspiration for me to see. Thank you for all that you are doing to support your church, family, and community during this time.

Allow me to share some reminders to help us continue to stay strong in this season.

  1. Go easy on yourself. This is hard and you cannot do it all.
  2. Remember the small things that always make people feel good – a phone call, a note or text, a prayer.
  3. Pastors, remember to ask others to help you. Laity, remember to ask your pastor how you can help and say no when you just cannot do one more thing.
  4. Give an abundance of grace – at home, church, and beyond. Assume the best and when you are troubled about something, call the person who can help you understand what might have really happened. Seek peace. We all need it right now.
  5. Get your sleep.
  6. Drink lots of liquids.
  7. Buy something that smells like pumpkin because it’s fall.
  8. Remember that Jesus loves you so very much, along with the entire creation that surrounds us. My, oh, my.

Sisters and brothers, feel the love of God surround you today. Try and recognize the small rewards around us in this season of abundant headaches. God is, indeed, with us!

Grace and peace,

Cynthia D. Weems


2020 Charge/Church Conferences

The 2020 Charge/Church conference forms are available on the Florida Conference website. To go to the forms, please CLICK HERE. These forms are to be completed annually by each local church in accordance with the District Superintendent’s annual charge conference directions. Click here to link to Charge Conference Forms instructions.

We will send the fall schedule and instructions to each church shortly. Please be in prayer for your church and for our district during this unusual season of conferencing. All charge conferences will be virtual this year and coordinated through the district office.




Virtual Pre-Annual Conference Orientation
Tuesday, September 1, 6:00 pm REGISTER HERE

This webinar will be hosted by Mickey Wilson, conference treasurer, Rev. Alex Shanks and Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin, Annual Conference Planning Team co-chairs. Members of the annual conference will have the opportunity to test the Annual Conference webinar platform during these orientations, ask questions, and learn about the essential items of business that will be covered during the Annual Conference session.

For those unable to attend, the webinars will be recorded and later posted to the Conference website.

The following events will all be virtual on September 12:                  

  • Laity Session - 10:00am - noon
  • Service of Commissioning - 1:00pm
  • Service of Ordination - 3:00pm 
  • Installation of our two new District Superintendents - 4:30pm


Annual Conference 2020 will be virtual only on September 19 9:00am - noon.

Click HERE for the Annual Conference 2020 webpage. 


Church Administrators Question & Answer Session with Norma and Cynthia

We have decided to cancel the in-person Church Administrators training scheduled for September 22 and instead have a Q&A session with anyone who would like to participate on September 17 from 10:00-11:00 via ZOOM. This can be a time to learn more about charge conference paperwork, other district/conference reports or whatever is on your mind. To register for this virtual session, please CLICK HERE.


Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet and the Office of Clergy Excellence has agreed to postpone the deadline for annual clergy evaluations for non-moving clergy to September 30, 2020. The completed forms should be emailed to Norma Sayago  

The clergy assessment process is available on the FLUMC website under Clergy Excellence

NOTE: This is required for every clergy appointed to the local church. These evaluations are not required for extension ministers or deacons working beyond the local church setting. Deacons and Clergy serving in Extension Ministry have an annual report due December 31 each year. Click HERE to download the report.


SE Clergy – Mark your calendars!

Virtual Fall Clergy Meeting with Bishop Carter in attendance

When: Thursday, October 8, 2020

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon

Be on the lookout for a ZOOM invite. Clergy – if you are particularly gifted in coordinating large ZOOM meetings and would be willing to help with this one, would you reach out to Cynthia at Thank you!



You’re invited to the FX Studio!

Have you heard all about fresh expressions but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have started some fresh expressions and are wondering what’s next? Or are you feeling stuck amid the pandemic? The Fresh Expressions Studio is for you…

Studio Gathering 1: Wednesday September 30, 2020 9am-12 by Zoom.
Studio Gathering 2: Saturday March 20, 2021 (location to be determined)

For more information about the gatherings and to register for these FREE events click below



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 at


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  

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
Click HERE to submit your photos.


Join the OMT Collective!

Do you have skills in the area of writing, photography, video, graphic design, or curation? We would love to activate those talents and connect you to our shared mission. We believe you can help us create and curate dynamic storytelling content for The Florida Conference.
As we think of new ways to streamline our communications, while at the same time increasing our storytelling capacity, we are convinced that there are talented people all over the Conference that might be willing to use their gifts to help tell the story of our movement.
There is so much good to be celebrated that is happening all over The Florida Conference and we want to make sure we are highlighting it well!
That is where you come in.
If you have the capacity to periodically write a story, curate some resources, shoot photos or video, or make a graphic, would you consider joining the On Mission Together Collective?

Oftentimes, we miss out on great stories of Courageous Leadership, Missional Engagement, and Spirit-Led Innovation because we don’t have a network of storytellers across the Conference set up to capture them. This group of leaders will help shape the stories that we tell in The Florida Conference and use their gifts to bless those who interact with this content.
If you would have any interest in serving in this way, take a moment to fill out our interest form so that we can begin bringing together leaders willing to make an impact through communication: OMT Collective Interest Form
Our goal is for this initiative to be a natural extension of the gifts you are already using and a match to the capacity you have to give.
Thank you for considering, we look forward to connecting with you.



September 17 - Church Administrators Question & Answer Session with Norma and Cynthia

Q&A Session for all Church Administrators who would like to participate on September 17 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am via ZOOM. 

October 13 - SE District DCOM Meeting

Materials due: September 15.