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SED December 2018 Newsletter

Dear South East District Friends,

Blessed first week of Advent to you all! 

I so enjoyed seeing you at charge conferences this year and rejoice with you in what the Lord is doing in your churches and communities. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to transformation in the name of Jesus Christ.

I learned many things as I spent time with you this fall. Your questions and comments helped me in my own thinking. At one cluster charge conference I found myself elaborating on an item in a way that was not planned in advance (preachers do that sometimes!). It was when I was discussing the new vision of the annual conference (a vision of cultivating Courageous Leadership, Missional Engagement and Spirit-Led Innovation). As I was elaborating on Spirit-Led Innovation, I made the following statement, “Our population is energized by innovation everywhere they go:  school, the mall, workplaces, stores, the doctor’s office. Everywhere they go they enter a world that looks like the future.  Then, when they arrive at church, they walk into the past.” Because several people mentioned to me that this really “hit home” with them, it caused me to think more about my impromptu comments. Let me share more of my thinking here.

Imagine that your middle school child or grandchild entered class on the first day of school and discovered the following. The desk was wooden, one of those old desks where the chair connects to the desk. The only public writing space was a chalk board, no dry erase board or projector and screen present. The only writing utensils were pencils, no pens or markers or highlighters. The teacher sat at a desk and informed the students that if parents needed to communicate with him then they should write a letter, no email, phone calls or texts. 

When this child gets home from school and tells you about her day, how do you respond? How do you feel about her school?  Are they prepared to teach your child in the 21st century? Technically, they have what they need to teach (a teacher, textbooks and a school). But will your child be engaged with the material it the most creative and thoughtful way possible for her generation?

This kind of thinking is what my comments at charge conference were intended to generate. Often times we feel that because the church tells an ancient story, the story needs to be told in an ancient way, with ancient materials and in an ancient building. But consider what we learn when we visit history museums and when our children learn about historical events – they are learning about them with digital devices that share sounds and images that spark their imagination. Things of the past come alive in new ways when we allow innovation to breathe life into an ancient story. We also say to the world,We love this gospel message so much that we will constantly be thinking of new ways to share it with new people.

A challenge we have in our churches is to balance the needs of the current congregation with the needs of those who are not yet with us. Remember, the church does not exist for those already present but for those we haven’t met yet. Those of us who are already disciples can find multiple ways to worship God (and most of us don’t require an innovative approach). Our goal is to transform the lives of those not yet aware of the amazing gift of God’s grace. This will take innovation, creativity and hard work by those of us in church leadership.

Thank you for giving yourselves to this important work and for challenging your local church community to dive into the future in courageous, missional and innovative ways!

Grace and peace,   



Happy Retirement to Gustavo Betancourt!

It is with regret but warm wishes that the District is saying good-bye to this faithful servant after almost eighteen years of service to the churches of the South East District. We are indebted to his hard work and commitment. His last day with us is December 31st, 2018. We will miss him greatly!  (But may see him doing odds and ends around our three counties!)

Please join us in wishing him well on his retirement:

Or send a note to him at:  South East District, 536 Coral Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134

JFON Offering

The District is delighted to share with you that the offering for FL Justice for Our Neighbors  collected at our four Charge Conferences was very generous. We collected over $2,700 total. 

Thank you!

Annual District Training Event 2019

 A training opportunity for all clergy and lay leadership in the SE District.  (Be sure your new 2019 leaders are updated in your church dashboard in order for them to receive an invitation to this event.)

Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Christ Church UM, Ft. Lauderdale

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Scott Smith, First UMC Ormond Beach

Worship Leader: Jeremy Hearn & band, First UMC Lakeland


8:15 – 8:45 am Registration

8:45 – 10:00 am Opening Worship and Keynote

10:15 – 1:00 am Break-Out Sessions and lunch

Registration will open in mid-December.  Stay tuned!

District-Wide Youth Event 2019

Grades 6-12

Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Christ Church UM, Ft. Lauderdale

From 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Theme:  Hope in Action

Planned eventsWorship, Hands-on service project, games, food, prayer stations and more

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Scott Smith, First UMC Ormond Beach

Worship Leader: Jeremy Hearn & band, First UMC Lakeland

We would love to know you are planning to attend with your youth. Register your intention HERE


Apportionments and End of Year Payments

Apportionment payments for 2018 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid online by Friday, January 11, 2019. This is not a postmarked by date.  Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2019 apportionments. Any payments received between January 1 and January 11 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied. All apportionment payments should include a completed Remittance Report. 
Click here to access the Remittance Report on the Conference website.
Or go to the website at:

  • Click  "Financial Services" tab on the home page
  • Click on "2018 Apportionment Giving Report Forms"
  • Select one of the two versions of the Giving Report listed at the bottom of the page

To pay online, click here.
Any amounts due for Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits at the end of the year will continue to show as outstanding on your statement in 2019

Clergy Gathering

January 29 - February 1, 2019 - Epworth By The Sea

In lieu of our Clergy Gathering which had been tentatively scheduled October 23 - 24, 2018, we are inviting you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 29 - February 1, 2019. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. Dr. Tod Bolinger, author of Canoeing The Mountains, will be the keynote speaker. 

Be sure to register soon as we expect this to be a sold out event.

Click HERE to register.  Click HERE for the flyer.


2019 Florida Conference Women’s Retreat



For a short time, step away from everything. Spend a quiet and glorious time celebrating Christ, with your sisters.

CLICK TO REGISTER:  2019 Women's Retreat Registration

February 8-10, 2019:
Keynote: Rev. Emily Knight
Bible Study Leader: Rev. Rachel Hughes
Music Leader: Cindy & Casey Cleveland & Family
Devotions: Sierra Clark & Kim Fisackerly
Enrichment Leaders: Margie Anderson, Kimberli Jones & Roxy Haas

March 8-10, 2019:
Keynote: Rev. Lisa Stamp
Bible Study Leader: Rev. Sara McKinley
Music Leader: Sue Sommer
Devotions: Tabatha Parish & Gladyanne Hood
Enrichment Leaders:  Rev. Tamara Isidore, Karen Taylor, Rev. Mary Ashcraft, Margie Anderson, Kathy Delozier, Maureen Corristan.

Get to know your retreat leaders by clicking here

Click here for the brochure

Click here for a bulletin insert

Click here for a save the date flyer

Click here for the Facebook page

As we approach 2019, we want to invite you to put an exciting experience on your calendar. Bishop Carter is asking if your church would join us in setting aside one weekend in May to align your church around God’s mission.
We are building a dynamic, customizable On Mission Together Weekend where you can bring your congregation together to connect with one another, your community, and the mission that we share to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
We will provide you with a loose structure, agenda, and content for the experience and you will have the opportunity to tailor it to your context. We envision three movements to the weekend that you can adapt:

Friday – Movement 1: Kick the weekend off with a time of connection. This could be a Love Feast, Concert, or Celebrate Recovery event. It is a time to enjoy one another and celebrate our shared mission.
Saturday – Movement 2: Saturday morning will be a time for missional engagement where participants will serve together in the community. Take some time to rest and reflect in the afternoon and then gather the group for dinner and intentional, courageous conversations.
Sunday – Movement 3: Sunday morning will be a normal Sunday service with a focus on grace, lay testimony, and an invitation to follow Jesus. After church, the On Mission Together Weekend would close with a lunch sharing some of what participants learned and God-sightings. This could also kick off a small-group study or some brainstorming around how the church can continue living out the mission, vision, and mindsets. Click here for attachment.

This note is to get you excited, ask you to save a weekend and let you know more resources and ideas will be coming your way soon. Will you consider joining us? We think this will be a great time to rally together around our passion for Jesus and his mission to the world.
Your next step might be to start conversations with your leadership and begin forming a team who can make this idea a reality. Keep in mind that we will be providing great resources for this event, but you will have freedom and flexibility to adapt it to your context for maximum impact.
Click the “Count Me In” button below to let us know when you are planning on having your On Mission Together Weekend. Let’s do this!



February 5 - SE District DCOM

Materials due: January 8th.  

February 9 - District-Wide Youth Event

This event is for Grades 6-12 At Christ Church UM, Ft. Lauderdale Theme: Hope in Action