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September 2020 District Newsletter

 

MESSAGE FROM THE DISTRICT OFFICE


Friends,

As the churches in our District slowly begin to open back up, we want to remind you that safety is of the utmost importance. We have 64 churches in the North East District and close to half of them are open for in-person, inside worship. Our larger churches are also slowly beginning to reopen their doors for inside worship this month as well. 

We know that this has been a challenging time for everyone. So for those churches that are either worshiping outside or virtually only, please be in constant prayer for your pastor(s) and church leadership. These are tough decisions that they are making and there is not a guidebook on how to do church during a pandemic. We are all navigating in uncharted waters. If you have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to contact the District Office @ 904-396-3026 or flumc-ne@flumc.org. 

Below is an email from the Conference that includes updated COVID-19 guidance. Be sure to share this with others in your congregation.  

Date September 8, 2020
Subject: COVID-19 Updated Guidance from the Florida Conference

 
Dear Florida Conference Clergy and Laity:

We continue to pray for you and your communities as we enter the sixth month since we began actively giving guidance to our churches regarding the COVID-19 virus. We pray especially for the over 637,000 persons in Florida who have experienced the COVID-19 virus and the 11,800 persons who have died.
 
We know this has been a very difficult season for you to navigate as clergy and lay leaders. All of us have had to adapt to this ever-changing reality and learn new ways of doing life and ministry together as a church. We have watched as you have persevered. We applaud your resilience and creativity.
 
Our consistent guidance has been grounded in Matthew 22, the healing ministry of Jesus and the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor. In a global health crisis, we do this by maintaining a social distance, and by honoring many of our older and more vulnerable members.
 
As we continue this journey together, Bishop Carter and the Cabinet, with guidance from other conference leaders and medical professionals, reaffirm that our COVID-19 safety protocols remain in place.  Our COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
 
Specifically, we want to remind you of some key parts of our ongoing guidance:

  1. At all times persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.
  2. Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).
  3. Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine. 
  4. All inside activities must be in well ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities. See the bottom of this email for additional notes from one of the infectious disease experts who has consulted with us. 

We ask that you please continue to offer on-line worship and virtual ministry opportunities. It is important that opportunities are readily available for people in your church who are not ready to return to your campus. Persons in vulnerable populations or with underlying health conditions as defined by the CDC should be encouraged to stay home.
 
Decisions about in-person activities will vary according to your church context. We understand there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference. Contexts are different as cases rise at different rates (click here for a county and zip code break down). At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of your city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent. We know many of you have already communicated to your District offices your fall plans to offer a variety of hybrid models that include continued virtual ministry, outside experiences, along with limited in-person activities according to the safety protocols.
 
Our conference team encourages you to review the other guidance and recommendations found in the FAQ section of our COVID-19 website. This includes our guidance and recommendation around singing, schools and other activities. All of our previous updates and resources are found on our COVID-19 website. If you have questions, please reach out to your District Superintendent or contact the Episcopal Office at ashanks@flumc.org.
 
As we enter this fall and winter season, we commit to continuing to offer guidance and resources to you. Most of all we commit to praying with and for you in this time.
 
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of The Florida Annual Conference
 
Additional Notes regarding COVID-19 from one of the infectious disease experts who has consulted with us:
One of the infectious disease experts we have consulted with continues to emphasize that large gatherings in closed indoor spaces are very dangerous, especially if there are persons present who are early in the infection timeline. During this time, anyone has the potential of being a super spreader. Super spreaders can produce more infectious aerosol when speaking and breathing and even more so when singing.
 
One way to mitigate these concerns for those persons planning to attend an in-person event is to more closely monitor their symptoms by performing daily temperature checks at home. If someone’s temperature increases 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or more above their normal temperature, the person should not attend the gathering. Persons with such temperature change should consider getting a COVID-19 RTPCR test or antigen test if available and as advised by their local health department or personal physician. 
 
Finally, our expert, along with the CDC (Flu FAQ), believes it is very important to get the flu vaccine this year in order to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. A coinfection of COVID-19 and the flu could be devasting. 


2020 VIRTUAL SUPER-CHARGED CONFERENCE


We are still working out all of the details but here are just a few highlights that we want to share with you:

  • Forms are live! - https://www.flumc.org/calendarofreportsdue2020#August. Be sure to click on forms for NE District only.
  • fully completed and signed charge conference packet will be due to the District Office by October 31. You can submit your packet earlier if it is completed and signed.
  • Clergy will automatically be registered to attend this virtual event. Any laity that want to attend must register by October 31 - https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/2020VirtualSuperChargedConference. ZOOM meeting links will be emailed to all registrants on November 2.
  • All lay servants must complete the certified lay servant report to maintain their certification. 

CLERGY ASSESSMENT DUE SOON!


Completed assessments must be sent to the district office and not to the Office of Clergy Excellence. Deadline for assessments is currently September 30. Feel free to use your own form. You do not have to use the conference forms. 

The evaluation forms and process can be found at:
https://www.flumc.org/annualassessmentofclergyleadership 

https://www.flumc.org/annualassessmentofclergyleadershipspanish


 

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.

DISTRICT YOUTH PASTOR SPECIAL MEETING


We will be meeting to discuss the District Youth Virtual Retreat in November. If you have a youth pastor in your church, please invite them to attend on  Thursday, September 17 @ 10 a.m. Below are the video call details:

Topic: NEFL Youth Director Meeting
Time: Sep 17, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85397696628

Meeting ID: 853 9769 6628
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,85397696628# US (Germantown)
+13126266799,,85397696628# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 853 9769 6628
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/ks50Nnain

 


DISTRICT CHILDREN'S MINISTRY VIRTUAL MEETING

 

All leaders involved children's/kids ministry are invited to this monthly District KidMin meeting. The next meeting will be on September 16 @ 11 a.m. The Zoom link is below. 

Topic: Northeast District Kidmin
Time: Sep 16, 2020 11:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87911457191?pwd=dHdMeUxDU09sZ1RBU3g0cS9HUW9pdz09

Meeting ID: 879 1145 7191
Passcode: Kidmin
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,87911457191#,,,,,,0#,,576651# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,87911457191#,,,,,,0#,,576651# US (New York)

Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 879 1145 7191
Passcode: 576651
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kda6sPlnY


VIRTUAL DISTRICT YOUTH RETREAT


Save the date for our Virtual District Youth Retreat on Saturday, November 14, 2020. The retreat will begin at 10 a.m. and end no later than 4 p.m. We will have online registration for this FREE event.

Youth pastors/directors, please share this date with the youth in your church. We are hoping to have youth from each church in the district participate. 

More information to come!



10 WORST THINGS TO DO DONATE AFTER DISASTER


We are currently in Hurricane Season. While it has been a pretty mild one for us, we have seen the catastrophic damage it has caused other states. Our Disaster Recovery Team want to remind you about what not to donate after a disaster. This list includes:

  1. Used Clothing
  2. Shoes 
  3. Blankets
  4. Teddy Bears
  5. Medicine
  6. Pet Supplies
  7. Mixed Items
  8. Canned Food and Bottled Water
  9. Your Unsolicited Help
  10. Money to the Wrong People

To read more about this list, please click here


YOUTH MINISTRY INSTITUTE

 

A message from our Ministry Partners at the Youth Ministry Institute. We invest in them, so they can invest in you.

Joel Pancoast - Youth Ministry Coordinator

Dear Pastors, 

How great would it feel as a pastor to know that your youth minister is one you can trust to do an excellent job in ministry, especially in this season? 

You, most likely, never imagined doing ministry in a pandemic and going months without meeting in-person for worship. As many things have been turned upside down, having a strong team around you is more important than ever!

You need a youth minister that you can trust, will make disciples, and be an asset to your congregation. 

That is why the Youth Ministry Institute's Professional Youth Ministry Certification Program exists. We believe in the work of the local church and are here to train and develop your youth minister. 

Click this link to learn more about the Certification Program.


CRISIS COMMUNICATION PROTOCOL UPDATED INFORMATION 

 

The Conference has updated the Crisis Communication Protocol. Please be sure to download a copy of this in your local church office.