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SED June 2018 Newsletter

Dear South East District Friends,

Greetings in this season of annual conference preparation, last days of school and early summer planning. It is a joyful time and a busy time!

On a Monday in late May I had the pleasure of spending the day with our district clergy for a time of learning and sharing. We said farewell to pastors who will be moving this year and shared in a time of laughter, devotion and prayer. The bulk of our meeting was spent on an activity meant to deepen our empathy. It is an exercise that is a part of the Florida Conference POV (“Point of View”) initiative that is rolling out this spring and summer. Three of us in the SE District (Mason Dorsey, Vance Rains and myself) were a part of the team that created the POV and we believe it is worthy of each church’s consideration. 

It is clear to see that there are various points of view within the United Methodist Church related to LGBTQ inclusion in the life of the church. We know that the next year will be significant for our denomination as decisions are made related to this issue. Here in Florida, our desire is to continue to strengthen our bonds of Christian love and mission while at the same time learning to hear and understand each other more deeply. The definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  We believe communities who choose to participate in the POV experience will benefit from its quality material, guided activities and underlying desire to grow stronger bonds of empathy, love and trust.

You will notice this is not an invitation to change your mind, or to seek to change another’s mind. This is an invitation to be willing to share and listen. Understanding more deeply another’s point of view is a way we can grow in empathy. We embrace Bible stories that lift up our Lord as one who sought to truly understand the perspectives of others. We know in our own lives and servant ministry we are often required to grow in empathy with those we wish to serve. This experience will allow us to do this in more significant ways.

How can you participate? First, I would like for you to speak with your pastor. I am inviting pastors to let me know if there is interest among their churches in doing the POV as one church or a group of churches together. There are models for a three session POV or a 1 day POV. I will also be initiating some invitations around the district for churches to participate in this opportunity. Facilitators will be trained so your laity/pastor will not be leading your POV but rather have another person guiding you through the exercises in order for members of your community to fully participate in it together. I look forward to hearing from you!

Grace and peace,   



Meet the New District Missional Initiatives Specialist

The Rev. Michelle Shrader will begin serving as the SE District Missional Initiatives Specialist beginning July 1.  Michelle began her journey in ministry as an active lay person at Hyde Park UMC in Tampa. She would ultimately leave her profession as a speech therapist to attend Duke Divinity School where she received an award for outstanding student in the mission of the church. It is during that time that she began a commitment to learning more about racial reconciliation through the faith community. Later, she would put her learnings to work in both Mississippi and North Carolina where she served in pastoral appointments focusing on reconciliation and missions.  She comes to us from her most recent appointment in Cape Town, South Africa where she led missional initiatives for the episcopal office

Michelle will serve part-time in this capacity with the district while also serving Killian Pines UMC as pastor. Michelle will be a gift to our district and the missional initiatives our churches are fostering. Her gifts of preaching, leadership development and multi-cultural ministry will serve her well at Killian Pines and throughout the South East District. Welcome Michelle!


The Rev. Peytyn Tobin honored by the community

HandsOn Broward celebrates annual Youth Impact Awards, and we are pleased to announce that this year one of our clergy sisters has been honored. Peytyn won, and was awarded the Changemaker Award, for her leadership with the Pack a Sack program out of New Horizon UMC.

The work under Peytyn’s leadership has exploded and now is serving around 200 households in Broward in partnerships with 11 elementary schools and three high schools. They have created partnerships with local service clubs and Girl Scouts. This work not only feeds children but empowers teens to lead and serve in their community.

Congratulations, Peytyn!


Puerto Rico Disaster Recovery Trip

January 19 - 26, 2019

First Church Coral Springs is planning to lead a disaster recovery mission trip to Puerto Rico, January 19 to 26, 2019. District churches hoping to send future teams are welcome to attend an information meeting on Sunday, July 8th, 1 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.  Photos from a recent trip and helpful logistical information for team preparation will be presented. RSVP by text or phone call to Sam Dull, 724.493.0224 by Thursday, July 5th.


Important Annual Conference 2018 Information

Remembering Who We Are
June 7–9, 2018

Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr.
Lakeland, FL 33801



Remember - Clergy MUST be registered prior to being admitted into the clergy session. Revs. David Range and CJ Walter will be registering clergy outside of the sanctuary at First UMC Lakeland on Thursday, June 7th beginning at 9:15 a.m.
Workbook - is online.  Click here to review and download.
Schedule & Other information - Click here to review and familiarize yourself.
Volunteer Opportunities - Click here to serve
Campus Map - Click here 
To note: During Annual Conference the DS and I will be in Lakeland. Please note that we may respond a little slower to messages and will have limited access to our voicemail and email.


Statement from United Methodist Women

UMW has published an statement regarding the denomination’s failure to ratify constitutional amendments ensuring the full inclusion of women in the church. You can locate it on the United Methodist Women’s website.  Please CLICK here.



News from the Young Adult Missional Movement

YAMM is excited to announce there will be at least six teams of young adult missionaries serving in our Conference this year. YAMM is an opportunity for young adults 18 to 30 years old to experience the mutual sharing God‘s love by building meaningful work, cooperative living, and community engagement. The participants receive small personal stipends, housing and groceries, quarterly retreats and even health insurance if they need it. Their work duties vary widely. Participants are matched by their own education, skill and passions to a wide variety of possible opportunities. You can be a part of this new mission service program.

    * Provide a meal or a birthday cake. Great project for your circle. Email

    * Donate a previously loved, but working vehicle, bikes or furniture:

    * Encourage a young adult hoping to change the world to apply.

    * Follow them all and please continue to pray for the young adults, supervisors, neighborhoods impacted, churches and staff. Questions/suggestions? Write the director, Heidi Aspinwall, or call 305-733-4420. Find them in the expo hall at Annual Conference



August 15 - School of Congregational Development 2018

Scholarships available. To apply for a scholarships, go to Click on SCHOLARSHIPS Global Ministries Small Church Scholarship, Racial Ethnic Scholarship, Racial Ethnic Seminarian Scholarship.